Van driver admits causing deaths of boy, 3, and his sister, 4, in horror M4 crash

21 February 2022, 10:55 | Updated: 21 February 2022, 11:33

Jayden-Lee Lucas, three, and his four-year-old sister, Gracie-Ann Wheaton, who were killed in the crash on the M4.
Jayden-Lee Lucas, three, and his four-year-old sister, Gracie-Ann Wheaton, who were killed in the crash on the M4. Picture: PA/Family handout

By Sophie Barnett

A van driver has admitted causing the deaths of two children who were travelling home from a birthday party in a horror crash on the M4.

Martin Newman, 41, pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of Jayden-Lee Lucas, three, and his sister Gracie-Ann Wheaton, four, by dangerous driving, and seriously injuring their mother Rhiannon.

The family, from Tredegar, had been returning from a birthday party at around 1.45pm on Saturday February 5 when the car they were travelling in collided with Newman's van on the M4 near Newport.

The crash happened on the westbound carriageway between junctions 28 and 29.

Newman, of Croeserw, spoke only to confirm his identity and enter his guilty pleas at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday.

Several of the children's relatives were in the public gallery, and one yelled "Bastard" as Newman was led from the dock.

The two children were rushed to the intensive care unit at University Hospital of Wales, also known as the Heath Hospital, in Cardiff, after the crash.

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Ms Lucas and the children's father, who has not been named, were also taken to hospital.

Gracie-Ann suffered a cardiac arrest due to the severity of her injuries and died the next day at around 5am.

Jayden-Lee died the following Friday at 4.30pm.

In a tribute to Jayden-Lee, his cousin, Jamie Lucas, 19, said: "He was wonderful, creative and a kind soul. Turned the grey skies blue."

In a previous tribute to Gracie-Ann, he said: "She was so young. She had a bright future ahead of her. She was such a wonderful child."

He added: "She was very smart, she was very creative. She had a really great imagination as well. She was just fantastic to be around."

A GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the siblings' funeral has raised more than £14,700.

Newman will be sentenced on Friday, April 8.

Enquiries are continuing and anyone with dash-cam footage, or any information that could help the investigation, is asked to call 101, quoting 2200041245, or you can direct message police on Facebook or Twitter.