Tributes have been paid to a popular Welshpool landlady who was killed alongside her friend in a motorway crash.

Barbara Jones had been the landlady of the Wellington Pub in Welshpool for many years.

She was a back seat passenger along with her friend Christine Evans when the Vauxhall car they were travelling in was in collision with a Mercedes van on the M42 in Warwickshire in the early hours of Friday morning.

Both women were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the car, Ms Jones’ partner Gareth Isaac, and his front seat passenger Graham Davies, escaped with minor injuries.

All four were on the way to the airport to go on holiday, when the van was in collision with the back of the car.

Following the crash, at about 3.20am, the 37-year-old van driver, from Birmingham, was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs. He was released under investigation.

County Councillor Graham Breeze said: “This is devastating news for Welshpool and has cast a dark shadow over the town.

“I knew both personally – and in fact lived next door to one of the victims for several years.

“It is terribly sad that what should have been the start of a well-earned holiday for one of the victims has ended this way.

“Barbara was a long serving and highly respected licensee and Christine a well-known and well-liked personality.

“My thoughts and condolences go to the families.”

Police said the families of the victims are being assisted by specialist officers and the coroner’s office for Warwickshire confirmed an inquest opening is expected to take place in Leamington on Friday.

Warwickshire Police Inspector Gareth Bridgewater has launched an appeal for anyone with dashcam footage to come forward.