THE sole survivor of a devastating car crash that killed three members of his family told an inquest last week how he awoke from the smash to witness their final breaths.
Jaydeep Patel, 18 at the time of the crash, was in the back of the car driven by his aunt Vasumati Patel, who was driving past Hatton Cross Tube Station with her younger brother 56-year-old Rajendra Patel and their brother-in-law and Jaydeep's father Niranjanbhai Patel, 57.
The four of them were heading to Heathrow's terminal four on January 17 this year for a flight to India where they were due to celebrate Niranjanbhai's older son's wedding on in Gujarat.
Holding back tears to read out his statement at West London Coroners Court on Wednesday last week, on what would have been his father's birthday, he said: "It was a cold day and was raining quite heavily. We headed towards Hatton Cross when we missed our turning. I wasn't taking too much notice as I had my headphones in and was listening to my music and playing with my phone.
"I looked up and saw the headlights heading towards me and then I was knocked out.
"When I woke up I saw my father next to me, I knew he was dead. I remember there was a suitcase lodged between me and my father which took the impact of the crash and saved my life."
Rajendra, of Scott Crescent, Rayners Lane and Niranjanbhai, from Slough Lane, Kingsbury, were both pronounced dead at the scene whilst Vasumati, of Kenton Lane, Kenton, died later that day in a central London hospital
The inquest, heard how Vasumati, 63, had taken the wrong exit and was attempting an illegal U-turn when the crash occurred.
She had turned her blue Honda at a junction where there was no right turn when the oncoming van, driven by Peter Brown, had no time to avoid the collision.
Having been part heard, however, the inquest was adjourned by coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe (CORR) because it emerged that the no right turn sign, underneath the green traffic light, had not been illuminated on that morning.
A number of officers from the road death investigation unit confirmed that it had not been lit on that dark rainy morning, and may not have been seen by Mrs Patel.
No right hand turn signs on traffic lights are meant to be illuminated at all times.
Speaking after the adjournment Vasumati's husband Raman Patel said: "We just want this to be all over but if this problem with traffic signs is talked about it may prevent another family from going through what we have.
"It has been absolutely devastating for the whole family, to lose three people, who were still quite young has been very hard for us all."
The inquest was adjourned to a date yet to be confirmed.