Police focus on road rage death car

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Police are closing in on the road rage driver who caused the death of a young couple in London. Steve Boggan reports on a day of progress and a mother's heart-rending appeal for help.

The mother of Toby Exley, the 22-year-old driver killed with his girlfriend in a road rage crash, made a tearful appeal for witnesses yesterday as police revealed they had established that the car thought responsible was one of only 5,000 similar vehicles.

Joan Exley, 45, had to be supported by her sons, Robin 19, and Ben, 17, as she read out an appeal to the killer and to anyone who saw him force Toby and his girlfriend, Karen Martin, 20, off the road and into the path of another vehicle.

The couple died on 6 October in what police initially thought was a tragic accident on the A316 at Hanworth, west London. However, a manslaughter investigation was launched on Thursday when a motorcyclist came forward and reported seeing a powerful white car ram into them three times - apparently because they were keeping to the speed limit.

Addressing the killer, Mrs Exley said: "Please come forward to answer our questions. I'm sure you didn't intend to kill Toby and Karen. If nobody catches up with you, please don't be so aggressive with your powerful car in the future as it obviously has the power to kill."

And, to potential witnesses, she said: "Please try not to be afraid or embarrassed to come forward with information. Think of it as doing a last service to two young people. We miss Toby and Karen deeply and they didn't deserve to die so violently or so young."

Detective Chief Inspector Norman McKinlay, the officer leading the inquiry, said there were only 5,000 white cars with a registration number beginning K5, as reported by the motorcyclist. He said detectives were confident of "dramatically reducing" that figure if they receive more information from the public.

In particular, he said, six motorists travelling along the Great Chertsey Road at the time of the crash could shed vital light on the case. None has yet come forward, but he believes one or more of them - particularly the driver of a purple Allegro - might have seen the offending car.

Twenty officers are working full time on the investigation, and house- to-house inquiries have begun near the crash scene.

Police checked speed cameras along the route and on nearby roads yesterday to see if the white car was caught on film.

The couple's Ford Fiesta XR2, which was severely damaged, was being examined by forensic scientists for clues to the car which rammed it. However, the fact that its rear had to be cut off by the firefighters who freed Mr Exley and Miss Martin means valuable evidence might have been accidentally destroyed.

8 Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0181 247 6377 or 0181 247 6343, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.