Three dead after village festival
TWO Westcountry villages have been plunged into mourning after two teenagers and a boy of nine died in a late-night road crash.
The youths and the boy were in a car that veered across a busy road and ploughed into a stone wall in the South Hams on Saturday night.
The teenagers were named locally and on social networking site Facebook as Tom Capewell, 17, from Aveton Gifford in Devon, and his 18-year-old friend Jamie Baker, believed to be from East Prawle. They and Noah, nine, had been enjoying themselves at the annual Giffstock music festival on Saturday night in the village.
They are understood to have driven away from the small village towards Kingsbridge in a black Vauxhall Corsa.
On their way back, their car left the A379 road on the hill leading to Aveton Gifford, and careered across the two on-coming traffic lanes, into a wall on the opposite side, just after 11.15pm. They all died at the scene.
The news has left residents in the village, and also those in nearby East Prawle, where one of the boys is understood to have family, shocked and devastated.
Flower bouquets adorned the side of the road near where the collision happened as tribute to the three youngsters who died.
Tom Capewell, known as TJ, is believed to be the son of Mark and Athenia Capewell, the landlords of the Fisherman's Rest freehouse in Aveton Gifford.
A sign outside the pub yesterday said: "Due to tragic circumstances, the pub is closed today."
A family liaison officer was with Tom's parents at the pub.
He said: "They have suffered from the most traumatic event. They are understandably traumatised by the loss of their son. They need time to grieve."
Jamie Baker is believed to have worked as a chef.
More than 500 people had last night joined a group, RIP Jamie Baker and TJ Capewell, on Facebook, leaving messages of condolence.
Lucy Stokes, Jamie's sister, wrote: "My darling beautiful baby brother...look how many friends you have....thank you everyone for your kind words its so heart warming to see how loved he was.
"Life will never be the same. Its not sunk in I don't think it ever will....xxxx Thinking of the other families too xx"
Hannah Dyson, from Kingsbridge, wrote: "Still can't believe I've lost one of my best & closest friends. Love and miss you TJ."?
Linda Whitehouse added that she remembered them "so fondly from my time teaching them – TJ in particular being in my tutor group".
Three fire appliances from Modbury, Kingsbridge and Ivybridge, as well as ambulances from the surrounding towns, attended the crash. Tyre marks chalked up in yellow by police investigators were visible at the scene yesterday.
Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed the two teenagers and the boy died at the scene.
Sergeant Steve Walker, investigating officer, said: "This is still an early stage. We are still investigating the collision. We're keeping an open mind and are looking at whether alcohol or speed were involved, as well as whether the car suffered a mechanical failure."
Aveton Gifford villagers said the news had "put a real damper on a good weekend".
Robert Ford, the organiser of the Giffstock music festival, said: "The event was going well. Towards the end we heard rumours that an accident had happened. But it was only on Sunday morning that we found out about it.
"We don't really know what happened but the news has been quite a shock. Everyone in the village is devastated."
Margaret Brett, one of the village's residents, added: "It put a real damper on what had been a great weekend. No-one should die that young. They had their whole ahead of them. It's such a tragedy."
Fellow resident Peter Burns added: "It's dreadful. There's a lot of conjecture about what happened.
"We know the lads attended the festival. It was a very happy event. Why they went to Kingsbridge and came back we don't know.
"We all feel for Mark and Athenia and the other people. Everyone in the village is quite distressed."
Bouquets left by the side of the road where the crash happened paid tributes to the three youngsters.
One of the message of condolences said: "We will miss you. Rest in peace. The Ezra's Luisa and Becky." Another said: "We will always remember you. Rob."
The family of one of the two other youngsters is understood to live in East Prawle, South Hams.
The news of the fatal crashed was announced to drinkers in the village's pub, the Pig's Nose, on Saturday night.
It is believed Jamie was a chef at the pub, well-known for its New Years Eve parties.
The pub closed after the news was revealed and a sign was put up outside. It read: "Sad loss. Jamie, Noah, Tom. Three special boys."
One of the patrons enjoying a drink in the pub at the time said: "We were left stunned after the pub's DJ stopped the music to make the announcement that the crash had happened and the pub would have to close immediately.
"The DJ said there had been a serious accident. People filed out onto the village green, as the impact of the announcement sunk in."
The landlord was too distraught to say anything. Sgt Walker added: "We are appealing to anyone who may have seen the dark Vauxhall Corsa between Aveton Gifford and Bantham Cross roundabout, just after 11pm on Saturday night, to contact us on 08452 777 444, quoting log number 1372 040709."