Two teenagers who were killed in a head-on car crash with a coach in west London following a police chase were not present at the burglary which prompted the pursuit, it has been revealed.
The newlywed couple, 19-year-old Patrick McDonagh and his 18-year-old wife Shauna, died when the car they were in moved into oncoming traffic and hit a bus on the A40 near Acton around 9pm on Sunday.
On Thursday investigators announced that the occupants of the car – including the couple and a second man who was taken to hospital for treatment – had not been at the scene of the break-in.
The couple’s family claimed they had been expecting the birth of their daughter on Valentine’s Day and had already named decided on Sienna Marie as her name.
A family statement said: “Patrick and Shauna were a young couple who had recently got married and were very much in love.
“Patrick was a devoted husband to Shauna and they were very much looking forward to the birth of their daughter Sienna Marie who was due to be born on Valentine’s Day.”
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it is understood officers were pursuing the car, a Renault Scenic, for about 10 minutes on the night of their deaths, but had stopped the pursuit prior to the crash.
An IOPC statement said: “It has now been confirmed, as part of a separate police investigation, that the occupants of the Renault were not present at the time of an aggravated burglary reported to have taken place in Harrow.”
The organisation said its own independent investigation would look at “the information the police had and the rationale for the pursuit”.
Accounts from officers, along with footage from the helicopter, police cars, body-worn video, CCTV and in-car data are among the evidence being gathered by investigators.
The Metropolitan Police made a mandatory referral to the IOPC on Sunday.
IOPC regional director Jonathan Green said: “My thoughts are with the families and friends of Patrick and Shauna, those injured and all those affected by this incident.
“It is important that we now establish all of the circumstances surrounding this collision.
“We have therefore launched an independent investigation into the events leading to the collision and immediately deployed our investigators to attend the scene and the post-incident procedure.”
Additional reporting by PA