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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
M4 deaths family speak of tragedy
Scene of the collision on the M4
Bridget and James Stafford died on the M4, along with three others
The family of an elderly couple killed in a head-on motorway crash say they are "devastated" by the tragedy.

Bridget Stafford, 70, and James Stafford, 69, died when a car driven on the wrong side of the M4 near Newport hit their Volvo.

They were returning to their Surrey home and their family said they were "loved by us and so many people".

Three young men from Newport in the other car, which had earlier been pursued by police, also died.

Mr and Mrs Stafford had been heading home after a holiday in their native Ireland last Monday.

In a statement, their family said: "We are devastated by the deaths of our parents James and Bridget Stafford, who were loved by us and so many people.

"We offer our condolences to the other families involved in this tragic incident.

"We thank the emergency services for their help and support.

"All that we ask for now is to be left alone to mourn our loss," the family added.

Christopher Beresford
Christopher Beresford was among three men killed in the Mondeo

The couple died in the collision last Monday at 0320 BST, shortly after Gwent Police broke off pursuit of a Ford Mondeo containing four men.

Three of those men, driver Christopher Beresford, 18 and Lee Maggs, 26, both from the Duffryn area of the city and Sam Case, 19, from Maindee, died.

An 18-year-old man who was also in the car is being treated for his injuries.

Their car collided with the Volvo carrying Mr and Mrs Stafford from Thornton Heath, who were originally from Achill Island, off County Mayo in the Irish Republic.

Sam Case (left) and Lee Maggs
Sam Case, 19, and Lee Maggs, 26, both died in the collision

They had spent the summer in Ireland and were driving to their home after getting off the Rosslare to Fishguard ferry.

Hours after the crash, it emerged that police had tried to stop the Mondeo at nearby Penhow but abandoned any pursuit when the vehicle turned onto the M4, in the wrong direction.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the collision and has taken possession of all the evidence collected by police following the crash, including CCTV footage and call logs.

The police watchdog continues to appeal for information from anyone who saw a red Ford Mondeo travelling the wrong direction on the eastbound carriageway of the M4 near the Christchurch Road motorway bridge at around 0315 BST.

Witnesses are asked to call free phone 0800 096 9076 or e-mail m4newport_incident@ipcc.gov.uk.



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