Shocked school offers condolences to the families of Leeds Stonegate Road crash victims

Carr Manor Community School.
Carr Manor Community School.

A school close to the scene of a horrific car crash which left three children and two adults dead has issued a statement this morning to express its sympathies to all those affected.

Investigators are trying to work out how a stolen Renault Clio happened to hit a tree on Stonegate Road in the Meanwood area of Leeds on Saturday night.

Forensic police officers at the scene of the fatal accident on Stonegate Road. Picture Tony Johnson.

Forensic police officers at the scene of the fatal accident on Stonegate Road. Picture Tony Johnson.

A statement from Carr Manor Community School read: “We are aware of the tragic road accident in our local community and send our condolences and sympathies to the families and all those affected by this shocking and upsetting incident.

“Until the police confirm relevant details we are unable to comment further and we will continue to offer support and help to all our pupils who may be affected by this distressing event.

“We appreciate the respect for the community’s grief and privacy at this time.”

People living close to the scene of the crash described bodies laid in the road and a vehicle reduced to a crumpled mess of metal barely recognisable as a car.

A vigil was held opposite the tree late on Sunday night for the five people who died - named locally as brothers Ellis and Elliott Thornton, aged 12 and 15; Darnell Harte, 15, Anthoney Armour, 28, and Robbie Meerun, 24.

Police said two of the deceased were pronounced dead at the scene and three died a short time later at hospital.

One man who lives close to the crash site said: “It was unbelievable.

“You couldn’t even recognise it as a car.

“It was just a crumpled mess.”

His wife said: “There were bodies laid about, it was awful. It was as bad as that.”

She added: “We were just sat here and we just heard an almighty crash.

“We sat here and thought ‘what the heck was that?’.”

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said it was not possible to tell whether the dead and injured had been in the car or walking along the street at the time.

Another woman said her husband ran up the road and could not believe what little was left of the car.

She said: “It was just a lump of metal that was not recognisable as a car.”

All those who died were male, said officers, who confirmed two more 15-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remain in custody. One of these youths is understood to have been taken to hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

On Sunday, floral tributes to those who died began to accumulate opposite the tree.

One tribute pinned to the flowers read: “Darnell (gone too soon). It just doesn’t make sense.

“Hope now you’re at some peace.

“Will remember you for your cheekiness.”

One of the mothers of the deceased visited the scene of the crash on Sunday afternoon, clearly distressed and did not talk to waiting media.

A police spokesman said officers were confronted by a scene of “complete carnage” when they arrived at the crash site.

He said that just one vehicle had been involved but it was not yet clear whether the five victims and two suspects had all been in the car.

“Whether they were all in the car or whether some of (the victims) were pedestrians, we can’t say at this point in time,” he added.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Griffiths, who is leading the investigation, said: “This is clearly a tragic incident in which five young people have lost their lives.

“We are currently investigating the exact circumstances of what happened.”