A van driver who killed a young brother and sister was high on drink and drugs in the tragic crash, a court heard.
Gracie-Ann Lucas, four, and brother Jayden-Lee, three, were sat in the back of their family car travelling home from a birthday party when it was hit by van driver Martin Newman, 41.
The family had pulled over onto the hard shoulder of the M4 motorway – and their car was stationary when it was hit by the Ford Transit van.
Both children suffered multiple injuries in the crash at Newport, Gwent, and died later in hospital.
Newman, who has admitted to death by dangerous driving, has now been charged with driving while under the influence of drink and drugs at Newport Magistrates’ Court.
Jayden-Lee Lucas, three, and Gracie-Ann Lucas, four, were in their family car when it was hit by Martin Newman, 41, on the M4 motorway on February 5
Martin Newman has pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving in relation to the crash, and a court heard he was high on drink and drugs at the time (pictured: Cars queued on the motorway following the collision)
Jayden and Gracie-Ann (both pictured), and their parents, were rushed to the intensive care unit (ICU) of University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, following the crash
Newman, 41, of Croeserw, near Neath, previously pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of the children by dangerous driving – which carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.
He also admitted seriously injuring their mother, Rhiannon Lucas, in the crash on the M4 in Newport in February.
No plea was entered for the drink and drug driving charges and Newman is due to appear at Newport Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, April 8.
An inquest heard Newman smashed into the stationary car while driving his Ford Transit van near Tredegar Park in Newport, Gwent, on February 5.
A post mortem carried out by Dr Stephen Leadbeatter found Gracie-Ann died as a result of multiple injuries at 4.45am the following day.
Jayden (left) died after five days in intensive care, while Gracie-Ann (right) suffered a cardiac arrest due to the severity of her injuries and died the day after the crash at around 5am
Brother Jayden-Lee was also rushed to the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff but died five days later.
A post-mortem examination found he died as a result of a blunt force head injury. He was identified by his parents.
The siblings, also known by the surname Wheaton, had been in the car with mum Rhiannon Lucas and her partner.
Newman appeared in Newport magistrates on Friday on the drink and drug charges. He will be sentenced on April 8 before Judge Daniel Williams at Cardiff Crown Court.
Tributes were paid to Gracie-Ann and Jayden-Lee following their deaths.
The brother and sister were described as ‘special’ children who always lit up any room they walked into
Headteacher Huw Waythe, of Deighton Primary School, described them as two ‘special children.’
He said: ‘Everyone at the school is immensely sad to hear of the passing of a second pupil following a road traffic collision on 5th February 2022.
‘Our thoughts remain with members of the family, and words cannot adequately express the shock and pain which they must be feeling.
‘We are shocked and saddened by the loss of two of our own. We will never forget how special the children were to our school community.
‘They both put a smile on all our faces daily. They were a delight to have and both always lit up any room with their positive personality and beaming smiles.
‘Gracie-Ann and Jayden-Lee’s lives will continue to be celebrated and remembered by us all. They both have a special place in our hearts and Deighton Primary School will never forget them.
‘We will support each other through this, seeking and providing further specific professional assistance for those pupils and staff who find this time the most upsetting.
‘We ask that you give us your support by allowing us some time to process our thoughts and feelings.’
In a family statement, cousin Jamie Lucas, 19, from Abergavenny, said: ‘He was wonderful, creative and a kind soul. Turned the grey skies blue.
‘She was so young. She had a bright future ahead of her. She was such a wonderful child.’