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Chief reporter speaks of community’s heartbreak after Snowdonia deaths

The chief reporter of a regional daily has spoken of the heartbreak felt within his community following the death of four teenagers in a tragic car accident.

Owen Hughes, chief reporter on North Wales Live, wrote of the genuine shock within the region as people came to terms with the deaths of Harvey Owen, 17, Jevon Hirst, 16, Wilf Fitchett, 17, and Hugo Morris, 18.

The friends, who had been on a camping trip, were discovered in their up-turned Ford Fiesta close to Snowdonia last Tuesday, sparking an outpouring of grief both locally and nationally.

Last Thursday’s edition of the website’s associated print title, the Daily Post, ran with a poster image of flowers and messages left at the scene of the crash, and with a poignant quote from one of the devastated mothers.

The front page of the Daily Post in Wales after four teenagers were tragically killed near Snowdonia.

Thursday’s Daily Post front page, designed by John Williams

Owen, who was working on the newsdesk with Alex Hickey on the day, feared it was going to be a tragic story as soon as the initial early morning appeal regarding their whereabouts was issued.

He said: “We had already started a liveblog – staffed by the day’s breaking news reporter Andrew Nuttall – on the incident and when the news came through that their car had been located, reporter David Powell headed out to the location.

“There was genuine shock in the local communities about what had happened, with four young lives cut tragically short.

“One local councillor talked about the guilt that some felt that the boys’ car had not been spotted sooner by passing motorists – with a feeling of ‘could the outcome have been different?’. These are answers we won’t know until the inquests.

“The front page of the Daily Post on Thursday reflected the ‘nightmare’ anguish felt by the loved ones of those boys.

“It is a truly heart-breaking incident and I think it touched so many because they knew on another day that could be them, or their children or grandchildren in that car.”

Police investigating the deaths have called on motorists to hand in their dashcam footage in the hope that some light can be shed on what caused the car to leave the road.