THE heart of a family was ripped out when a drink-driver fell asleep and crashed into the rear of another car and sent it careering off the A19.

Julia Golightly, from Billingham, was travelling home from York after spending the day there with her devoted son, Simon, when their family was changed for ever on June 22, 2018.

Peter Douglas Newbrook, who had spent the previous night drinking heavily into the early hours of the morning, nodded off as he travelled along the dual carriageway at around 7pm and veered into the rear of the Golightly’s car.

The impact forced their Kia Rio off the road before it smashed into a tree leaving the mother and son trapped in their car.

The 75-year-old suffered a punctured lung and was taken to James Cook University hospital where medics fought to safe her life before family members had to make the heart-breaking decision to switch off her life support machine.

The devastating impact of Mrs Golightly’s death was laid bare in Teesside Crown Court when a series of personal impact statements were read out.

And the family’s torment was made even worse as her daughter, Alison Driffill, was taken into the operating theatre 25 minutes after her mother’s death on June 25 to have treatment for breast cancer.

Simon Golightly said he spoke to his mother on a daily basis and told how she was the centre of his world until her life was cruelly cut short by the actions of Newbrook.

He said: “I cannot even begin to put into words the pain of holding her hand as she fought for her life over three days.”

The court heard how Newbrook was seen overtaking other vehicles before seeming to lose control of his Citroen Dispatch van and start to veer across the dual carriageway.

The contractor, of Harton House Road, South Shields, admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

The 60-year-old told police he had been drinking while watching the Argentina match on TV the day before the collision, which happened near Osmotherley.

Judge Peter Armstrong sentenced father-of-three Newbrook to four-years in custody and banned him from driving for a total of six years.

After sentencing, Mrs Golightly’s family said in a statement: “On that day, Peter Newbrook devastated our family by taking away a beloved wife of over 50 years, mam and nanna.

“His decision to get into his van that day after a heavy and late night of drinking has destroyed us.

“Everyone has a choice. He made the wrong one and him and his family have to live with that.

“Nothing can replace or heal our loss. We are broken.”

Traffic Constable Gemma Brett, of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Investigation Team, led the investigation.

She said: “This was an incredibly sad incident. A split second has changed a family’s lives forever and my thoughts are with Mrs Golightly’s relatives today.

“The case highlights how alcohol stays in your system long after you stop drinking. So many people think they’re fit to drive the day after a heavy drinking session. The reality is that you could still be well over the limit 24 hours after you had your last drink.

“There are no winners in a case like this, and it serves as a tragic reminder of the catastrophic effects of driving while under the influence.”