A GRIEVING mother saws the law needs to change after the uninsured, unlicensed driver who knocked down and killed her son faced no criminal charges.

Nicola Schaible also spoke directly to Polish national Mateusz Boczek at her son Patrick’s inquest in Crook yesterday, telling him of the ‘enormous grief’ she had suffered since her son's death.

Patrick Schaible, 21, who was a championship junior golfer, talented horse rider and had been studying at agricultural college, was walking the nine miles home to Headlam after a night out in Darlington when he was hit by a car driven by Mr Boczek near the village of Killerby.

Patrick, described as ‘an utterly charming young man’ yesterday, died instantly at the scene from his catastrophic injuries.

The Northern Echo:

He habitually walked home, partly because he was short of money and partly because he was used to walking the roads near his home.

It emerged Mr Boczek, of Darlington, who was driving to work at Stainton Quarry near Barnard Castle, was driving with his headlights dipped rather than on full beam, between 6.30 and 7am on a dark October morning in 2017.

Collision investigator, PC Robin Turner, concluded from his inquiry that Mr Boczek would only have seen Patrick, who was wearing dark clothing, from 25 metres away instead of more than 75 metres if he had his full beam headlights on.

Mr Boczek maintained he had his headlights on full beam.

Mr Boczek was convicted in 2015 of driving without a valid licence and with no insurance, but that did not stop him driving again. He did take out a policy of insurance after the conviction, but answered the questions about previous convictions untruthfully, which invalidated the policy.

The Northern Echo:

He said it was a mistake. But also, in evidence, he admitted that he had never read the UK Highway Code and only knew about speed limits from information friends had given him.

However, investigators found that he was within the speed limit, driving at 55mph, on the B6279 when the incident happened.

He also only held a Ukrainian driving licence, which was not valid in the UK.

Dr Schaible told the inquest: "Patrick was a wonderful person and he is very much missed.

"I hope he will be remembered for more than a poor decision to walk home.

"Patrick was my eldest, of six children. He had mild learning difficulties but he was very emotionally intelligent.

"He might not have been 'book smart' but he was very, very caring and sensitive.

"He was very protective of his brothers and sisters and his step brothers and sisters. "

Addressing Mr Boczek, she said: “The last two years have been, without doubt, the most difficult of my life. You have children and you know how it feels. The love that you feel for a child is indescribable and I am sure like any parent you have at some point considered the awful event that you could lose that child and the enormous feeling of grief that is associated with that.”

She said it had never been her intention to 'go after' Mr Boczek, and she had no wish to see him in prison, but she felt there should have been some criminal ramifications.

She also said that weeks after Patrick's death one of her daughters had said to her: “It must be really hard for him mummy, the man that hit Patrick.”

The Northern Echo:

Police put a case together for a charge of causing death while driving with no licence or insurance, but the Crown Prosecution Service did not take it to court as the evidence needs to show driver fault, and they felt the dipped headlights were not a serious enough fault to proceed.

The family and police fought to get the decision overturned but the CPS rejected their plea.

Dr Schaible said she hoped to get the law changed and said: “It is so hard for me to get away from the point that had Mr Boczek been following the laws of our country then he wouldn’t have been on the road. As a result of the CPS’ failure to consider the case, the end result was Mr Boczek received no legal ramification at all for driving again and killing my son."

Patrick's father Keith Schaible said: “To me that is a system failing. It seems absolutely absurd."

Assistant Coroner Crispin Oliver said his verdict could not take into account any perceived criminal actions by Mr Boczek, but said he fully sympathised with the family's plight.

The Northern Echo:

He recorded a narrative verdict which recorded that Patrick had been struck from behind and died instantly of serious head injuries, by a car driven by Mr Boczek, who he said had no valid licence or insurance and was driving with dipped headlights.

"He was not aware of the UK Highway Code," said Mr Oliver.