The burglary suspects who died when their car smashed into a coach as they were chased by police were a pregnant teenager and her new husband, it emerged today.
Newlyweds Patrick McDonagh, 19, and his heavily pregnant wife Shauna, 18, were tailed by at least nine police cars and a helicopter before the high-speed crash in west London.
The smash, on the wrong side of the carriageway on the A40, came after an aggravated burglary in Pinner a short time earlier.
The couple, who got married just 11 weeks ago and were due to have their first child in April, were pronounced dead at the scene at about 9pm on Sunday. Their unborn baby girl is not believed to have been saved.
A third person in the hatchback car was taken to a major trauma centre.
He remains in hospital and has since been arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary.
The three were being chased by police who were responding to a raid on a house in Pinner minutes earlier in which the victims — a man in his 30s, a woman in her late 50s and a man in his late 60s — were confronted by four men. The residents were threatened with a “large hunting knife” during the raid before the suspects made off with cash and jewellery, said police.
In the ensuing chase Mr and Mrs McDonagh’s car crashed in a ball of flames near East Acton.
Witnesses said it had been heading towards central London before crashing through a metal barrier onto the opposite westbound carriageway near the Kingsdown Avenue junction, about 11 miles from the scene of the raid.
The car, a silver Renault Megane, travelled on the wrong side of the dual carriageway for some time before smashing into the coach.
Police abandoned the chase when the car crossed onto the opposite carriageway, judging it too dangerous to continue the pursuit.
Today, relatives of the couple said they had been “madly in love” and looking forward to the birth of their child.
A cousin told the Standard: “They were having their first baby, a little girl, in April and they were over the moon.
“They were a very close couple, always together, seemed very happy, madly in love with each other. They were both very close to their families. Their families will never get over their deaths. They’re completely heartbroken.”
The family said they did not believe that the couple were involved in the burglary.
Mr McDonagh’s sister wrote on Facebook after his death: “My beautiful baby bro and his lovely wife, their whole lives ahead of them and my little niece due in April … why is life so cruel?”
The Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched an investigation into the crash.