Two children killed in smash with mum died in hospital, inquest hears

Two of the three young children killed in horror smash alongside their ‘mummy blogger’ mother, 29, died in hospital as medics desperately battled to save them, inquest hears

  • Zoe Powell, was killed alongside daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and son Simeon, six, when their Subaru collided with a HGV on the A40 near Oxford 
  • Her husband Joshua, 30, and their 18-month-old daughter Penny survived the crash which took place shortly before 10pm on Monday, October 12
  • Today a coroner said Amelia and Simeon did not die at the scene but in hospital

Two of the three young children killed last month in a horror smash with their mother died in hospital as medics desperately battled to save them, an inquest has heard. 

Zoe Powell, 29, was killed alongside daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and son Simeon, six, when their Subaru people carrier collided with an HGV on the A40 near Oxford.

Her husband Joshua, 30, and their 18-month-old daughter Penny survived the crash which took place shortly before 10pm on Monday, October 12.

Following the accident, Amelia was treated for a severe head injury, but within an hour she was dead, Oxford Coroner’s Court heard today.

Simeon survived until the following morning as medics treated a catastrophic injury to his brain but at 3.19am he too was declared dead, the coroner revealed. 

Zoe Powell, 29, with Phoebe, eight, Simeon, six, Amelia, four, and her husband Joshua, 30. The couple also have an 18-month-old daughter Penny who survived the crash

Zoe Powell, was killed alongside daughters Amelia, four, and Phoebe, eight, and son Simeon, six, when their silver Subaru collided with a HGV on the A40 near Oxford (the scene last month) 

Josh Powell (back) with his family (left to right) daughters Amelia, four, Phoebe, eight, wife Zoe, 29, holding their daughter Penny, 18 months, and son Simeon, six 

Mrs Powell and her eldest child, eight-year-old Phoebe, had been declared dead at the scene of the collision, a bridge over the railway line on the A40 between Cassington and Oxford, about 200 metres west of the A34 flyover.

Coroner Darren Salter opened the inquests in what he described as ‘the tragic case of the Powell family.’

Mr Salter said Zoe Powell was an ‘artist and author’ who had been born in Cheltenham and resided with her husband Josh, a railway engineer, at Glynswood in Chinnor.

All of the three children were described as primary school pupils by the coroner.

‘It is reported that she was involved in a road traffic collision on October 12 and her cause of death following post mortem examination is given as multiple injuries.’

Mrs Powell and her daughter Phoebe Jane Powell, who was born in Sheffield, were both declared dead by Dr Brown from the South Central Ambulance Service and were identified by ‘circumstantial evidence’ the following day, the coroner said.

Following a post mortem examination, the cause of death for Phoebe was also given as ‘multiple injuries,’ Mr Salter added.

Turning to the inquests of Amelia and Simeon, Mr Salter told how their grandparents had identified the bodies of the little children to hospital staff, first identifying Amelia on the evening of October 12 and then identifying Simeon the following day.

Mr Salter said: ‘In respect of all four cases, one inquest for all four tragic deaths will be held on March 23, subject to all necessary investigations.’

Mr Powell had spoken out from his hospital bed as he and the family’s youngest daughter Penny started to recover.

The Powell children who died last month, Simeon, Phoebe and Amelia

In a statement, he said: ‘I had been blessed with four wonderful children, whose thirst for life and hunger of adventure kept me busy but in the best possible way.

‘As I look to an uncertain future, I reflect on the fun that we had as a family, with feelings of sadness that it was cut so short.

‘There are many battles to come and I thank everyone who has stood by me and Penny thus far. We are well supported and know to ask if anything is needed.’

The HGV driver, a 56-year-old man, suffered minor injuries and has co-operated fully with the investigation, Thames Valley Police said.

The tragedy came months after the Powell family ‘lost everything’ when they were forced into temporary accommodation following a fire at their home.

Friends, neighbours and members of the churches where the family were regular visitors described the Powells as ‘delightful’ people.

The Powells

Zoe Powell, 29, with her daughter Phoebe, eight

Zoe Powell with her daughter Amelia Powell, four

Floral tributes outside the Powell home in Chinnor last month 

He and Mrs Powell had run their own company, Skylark and Hare Ltd., a company focused on artistic creation and the construction of railways, featuring an incorporated company, The Mama Book, which was a book for new mothers authored by Mrs Powell.

Mrs Powell, on her The Mama Book website, said: ‘The mama book is a journal and community that was born out of my own need for a space- a physical place to write and focus and reflect on motherhood.’

A crowdfunding page set up by a colleague of Mr Powell’s has raised more than £150,000.

My Family: Widower Josh Powell’s tribute

On October 20, Josh Powell released a tribute to his family:

‘Before the adventure of starting a family nobody truly knows what to expect. All of life’s preconceptions and what we see in the world around us meant that life as a family man was so much better than I expected it to be.

‘I had been blessed with four wonderful children, whose thirst for life and hunger of adventure kept me busy but in the best possible way.

‘As I look to an uncertain future, I reflect on the fun that we had as a family, with feelings of sadness that it was cut so short.

‘Phoebe was my first daughter, and was the model of her mother but with a thirst to always know more. Regularly we would adventure and explore the world together. She was clever and able to make great jumps of imagination – her great creations in Lego are testament to this.

‘Simeon was just like his father, with a mischievous sense of humour and desire to know more of the world. A keen sportsman, he had been due to play in first football match this week.

‘He shared the kind heart of his sisters and wouldn’t be happier than when he knew that everyone was ok.

‘Amelia was kind and spirited. Her tenderness and thoughtfulness much more advanced than her years.

‘Her ability to dance and express herself was a true blessing, with an abundance of self-confidence. Tied down by no element of practicality she had the most vivid dreams imagination.

‘Myself and Zoe were as different as we were alike. Despite the frequent tensions this would bring, it was of immense benefit having such differing world views.

‘Our children benefited from this in having adventures but also the quiet to talk. Zoe was a dreamer; with a head spinning of new things to do or tales to tell. More than anything, we made a great partnership to raise a family.

‘I want to thank everyone who has rushed to put their arms around to us to support me and Penny.

‘As a family that have always preferred understated calm and brevity, it has been a revelation the benefit of the deep wider relationships now I’ve lost my immediate nuclear family.

‘There are many battles to come, and I thank everyone who has stood by me and Penny thus far.

‘We are well supported and know to ask if anything is needed.

‘Now we have the time to readjust and grieve, this is the challenge of the abundance of loss we feel as a family.

‘Thank you to those who have respected our space and supported us thus far, and given us the time and space to do this.’

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