Four die and five critically hurt in 13th birthday crash

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The Independent Online

Three teenage boys and a recent university graduate are dead and five other people, including four boys, were last night fighting for their lives after a dual- carriageway pile-up.

Three teenage boys and a recent university graduate are dead and five other people, including four boys, were last night fighting for their lives after a dual- carriageway pile-up.

A car filled with boys aged 12 and 13 and setting off for a night out to celebrate a 13th birthday lost control and crossed the central reservation in Oxford's eastern bypass on Saturday night, police said. They confirmed that Josh Bartlett, from Blackbird Leys, Liam Hastings and Marshall Haynes, from Oxford - all aged 13 - were killed.

The five-seater car, driven by the birthday boy's mother, collided with a Honda Civic, driven by Howard Hillsdon, 21. Mr Hillsdon died in hospital. His male passenger was airlifted to Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire but his injuries were not serious.

The birthday boy, Anton Dublin, and his mother, who was in intensive care with neck injuries, were among the five fighting for their lives. His birthday was yesterday.

Police said that Mr Hillsdon was returning from a trip to the shops and was planning a meal with friends when the tragedy happened.

Mr Hillsdon's father, Graham, 51, mother Julie, 49, and 24-year-old sister, Anna, said: "Having finished his final examinations in an engineering degree at Oxford Brookes University, he was waiting for his results and looking forward to starting a post-graduate certificate in education.

"He hoped to become a secondary school maths teacher ... Howard was a home-loving son, during his life he followed his dreams; he was a proficient skier, a lifeguard, canoeist and swimmer. He was popular, had a wide circle of friends and touched the lives of all he met. He will be desperately missed."

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