A teen couple fleeing the police died along with their unborn child when their car smashed head-on into a coach and burst into flames, an inquest heard today.
Newlyweds Patrick McDonagh, 19, and pregnant wife Shauna, 18, were killed when their silver Renault Mégane was driven the wrong way down the A40 dual carriageway near Acton in west London in February 2019, the hearing was told.
Shauna was eight months pregnant with their unborn daughter Sienna Marie, who was due on Valentine’s Day that year, the inquest heard.
They were wrongly suspected of having been involved in an armed robbery in which Samurai swords were used, the hearing was told.
Shauna and Patrick, of Edgeware, north west London, were pronounced dead at the scene while a man who was also in the car was taken to hospital.
A jury at West London Coroner’s Court heard how police first followed the car after it drove through a red light.
They switched on their blue lights and pulled it over but, as an officer approached the car, it sped off.
While police were hot on their tail they saw items being “thrown out of the window,” the inquest heard.
The Mégane sped through several more red lights before driving on to the A40 where it hit speeds of up to 89mph despite a temporary 40mph limit.
The police control room warned officers that the vehicle may be linked with an aggravated burglary in the Harrow area in which thugs used samurai swords.
It was later revealed the couple were not connected to the crime.
When the car got to Gypsy Corner, in Acton it was drive the wrong way up the A40.
Police officers in three cars were told to end the chase because it had become too dangerous.
Around a minute later officers on the ground were told by a support helicopter that there had been a “big impact.”
They rushed to the scene to see the car in flames on the central reservation.
The inquest heard how Patrick was seen stumbling from the front passenger side door with a cut on his forehead.
After officers saw he had no weapons, he was given first aid before an ambulance arrived.
They found Shauna lying on the back seat with her head hanging out of the window.
An officer who tried to give her first aid found she had no pulse.
The inquest heard from PC Corin Grant, the driver of the first car to come across the couple.
He was looking for a missing person when the Mégane drove through a red light right in front of him.
He said: “I said to the operator we’ll just go and have a quick chat.
“I indicated for the car to stop with my blue lights which it has done, it’s pulled over on the pavement.
“As the operator has gone towards the diver’s door the car was then driven off at speed.”
He told the jury how the car ran several more red lights before making it’s way onto the A40, appearing to come off at Gypsy Corner before driving into the westbound lane going in the direction of oncoming traffic.
He added: “It’s then gone offside, which is what we call the wrong side of the road.
“We were then told to terminate the pursuit.
“About 60 seconds after we have been told to terminate the pursuit, the commentary from the helicopter said that there has been a big impact.
“I made my way to the scene to see the Megane was now straddling the central reservation.
“The female passenger was lying in the back seat, her head was laying against the door.
“I tried to do some first aid with her but there was no pulse.”
PC Rixon, another officer involved in the case, said: “We were advised the vehicle had possibly been involved in an aggravated burglary with the use of samurai swords.
“I believe in the case conference we had before this inquest it was heard that it was not the case, but obviously at the time we had to act on the information that was given to us.
“When I got there the vehicle was on fire so I used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
“I saw the female passenger with her head hanging outside the window.
“I took hold of her and performed first aid and tried to rouse her, but could not get a response from her.”
When asked by Met Police lawyer Ian Skelt QC if the car could have gone onto the wrong side of the A40 by accident, he added: “When he crossed over it was a definitely an intentional move. There was no loss of control.”
A third officer, PC Jenkinson, added: “The front passenger door of the Mégane opened and the third man stumbled out of the car.
“My initial concern was that he may be armed given the radio transmission before – that the occupants may have samurai swords.
“I could see he had a laceration to his forehead and my initial concern was that he was going to be quite seriously injured.
“I was joined by a colleague with a first aid kit.
“I was convinced he may have had significant injuries hidden by his clothing, but there was no obvious deformities that we could see so we kept him comfortable while we waited for the ambulance.”
The inquest is due to continue tomorrow.