Seven die, two children critical, after head-on crash

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The Independent Online

Seven people have died and two children are critical after a head-on car crash in the Cotswolds described by police as the worst in Gloucestershire's history.

The three-car accident on the A429, midway between Moreton-in-Marsh and Stow-on-the-Wold, happened at 9.20pm on Friday. Jason Brain, 35, Natasha Didcott, 16, Michola Jones, 31, and Ryan Bott, 20, were pronounced dead at the scene, after the grey Peugeot 306 they were travelling in collided head-on with a green VW Passat while overtaking another car.

John Kirby, 63, from Stow, the driver of the Passat, was also declared dead at the scene and his wife, Margaret, 61, died later in hospital. A backseat passenger, Julie Kirby, 34, the children's aunt, suffered serious chest injuries and died in Gloucester Royal Infirmary at 8.30pm.

The two children travelling in the Passat are believed to be Mr Kirby's grandchildren, a boy aged 10, and a girl aged nine. They were being treated at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where they were described as critical. No one in the third car was injured.

Mr Brain was reported by the Mail on Sunday to have received two years' probation after an accident on the same stretch of road seven years ago, when a breathalyser reading showed he was twice over the legal alcohol limit.Inspector Olly Lamb of Gloucestershire Police said it was the "most serious road accident we have ever had in Gloucestershire in terms of casualties. Our thoughts are with all of those people who have been affected."

The road at the junction of the A44 and the A429 was still closed last night.