Three teenagers die after car smashes into wall


A HIGH school is in mourning after three teenagers were killed when their car left a road and smashed into a wall.

Two high school pupils, aged 15 and 16, and an 18-year-old woman died in the crash on a rural road in East Lothian.

Another 16-year-old was injured in the accident and is being treated at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. All three boys were pupils at Dunbar Grammar School.

The victims were named locally as Josh Stewart (16), David Armstrong (15) and Jenna Barbour (18). The injured boy was named as fellow pupil Robbie Gemmell (16).

The accident happened at about 8.30pm on Monday on an unclassified road near the tiny village of Tyninghame.

The Peugeot 206 in which they were travelling came off the road and struck a wall.

Jenna’s parents, from Dunbar,were too upset to speak but a neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “She was such a lovely girl. It’s a complete shock.

“I’ve lived here for years so I’ve practically watched her grow up.

“She was into horse riding. You just can’t imagine what they are going through.

“She has a younger brother and he must be devastated. It is just horrible, especially so near to Christmas.”

Friends and family posted tributes to the teens, who all attended or had recently left Dunbar Grammar School, on social media.

David’s cousin, Connie Craig, posted on Twitter: “Rip to the beautiful, beautiful David. So so proud

Jenna, 18, was described by a neighbour as a "lovely girl" who enjoyed horse riding
Jenna Barbour, 18, was described by a neighbour as a “lovely girl” who enjoyed horse riding


to call you my little cousin. Done everyone so proud. You’re not in any pain 🙁 no words.”

While friend, Lewis Ross, said: “This doesn’t seem real… Thoughts with their friends and family, RIP lads.”

Gary Dunn posted on Facebook: “I can’t get my head around this it doesn’t even feel real at all!”

He added: “Praying for robbie! Can’t bare to lose another great lad!”

Twitter user @KimmMcLaughlin posted: “As much as this day has ruined everything. I’m praying Robbie’s going to pull through.”

Jack Boyd posted on Twitter: “Not slept a blink worst night of my life”

Calvin Conroy posted: “I have to keep reminding myself that one of my 2 best friends have passed away in such a tragic way, I can’t believe it.”

In Tyninghame, one local, who asked not to be named, expressed surprise, saying the stretch of road where the accident happened was straight although it was “frosty” at the time.

David Armstrong, at 15, was the youngest victim of the accident
David Armstrong, at 15, was the youngest victim of the accident


East Lothian council’s education spokesman Councillor Shamin Akhtar said: “Dunbar Grammar School is mourning the loss of three students killed in a road accident near East Linton last night.

“Dunbar is a very close and strong community and very few young people at school will not have known at least one of the young people involved.

“A special assembly was held this morning with S5/S6 to reflect on what had happened and to offer comfort and support. Teachers across the school are supporting young people and counselling services are also on hand.

“Students have been offered the opportunity to go home as long as there’s someone there to support them.  However, many have opted to stay to seek support from their friends and staff.

“The grief will be felt for a long time and at the moment the school is focusing on supporting its young people and the families of those who died, and on sending our best wishes and thoughts for the recovery of the young person who survived the accident.”

Senior pupils at Dunbar Grammar School revealed that Robbie was originally admitted to an intensive care ward but was now off the danger list.

One, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s just so sad and strange to think what’s happened.”

She said: “We were told this morning what happened and everyone just burst out crying. It’s so horrible.

“Now the school is just completely silent – it’s just a horrible feeling.

“You don’t really know how to feel because you don’t expect this to happen.”

Robbie Gemmell was the sole survivor of the accident. Friends said he had been in intensive care but has since been moved to a regular ward
Robbie Gemmell was the sole survivor of the accident. Friends said he had been in intensive care but has since been moved to a regular ward


The three boys attended the Countess Youth Club in Dunbar.

The club’s community development officer Jo McNamara, 60, said: “They were always lively, bright boys who would always get involved with the community.

“One of our youth workers is at the school offering support to the children.”

She added: “Everybody is utterly devastated. Its a tragedy when young peoples lives end like that.

“They were bright young people with bright futures ahead of them.

“They will be missed because they were people that were always fun to be around.

“That’s probably what’s happened, they were out there having fun and its gone horribly wrong.”

Josh was a keen rugby player and had a promising future with his local club
Josh was a keen rugby player and had a promising future with his local club


David Wilson, president of Dunbar Rugby Football Club, said the three boys had played and trained at the club.

He said Josh in particular was talented: “He was a very good player. He certainly would have been one for the future for the senior team.

“As a club we’re pretty devastated.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Tragically, this incident has resulted in three young people losing their lives and we are currently trying to establish exactly what has happened.

“Any motorists who were on the road at the time and have information that can help with our investigation is asked to contact police immediately.”

It is the latest of many road  tragedies to claim the lives of teenagers in Scotland.

In July this year a 16-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man were killed in a crash on the B7078 in Lanarkshire.

The deaths of Jane Gilbert and Graham Mathie led to residents of Lesmahagow in South Lanarkshire campaigning for improved safety on the road.

A study commissioned by the Department for Transport suggested raising the driving age to 18 and banning young drivers from having other young people as passengers.

Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “The dangerous roads are the rural roads – there’s roadside objects and they’re unlit.

“Inexperience and newness to driving is always going to be there.

“It’s just tragic that so many lives are being lost.”