THE family of a woman killed by a drink driver have spoken of how the ‘heart of our family has been ripped’ out by his aggressive driving.

Mary Graham was driving home with her family after watching one of her grandsons playing rugby league for the Warrington Wolves in Newcastle when their world was turned upside down.

Mrs Graham, her husband Tom, son-in-law Paul and grandson Cameron, were travelling along the A1M near Newton Aycliffe in her daughter Karen’s car when Razwan Hussain smashed into the back of it at almost 80mph.

The Northern Echo: Mary GrahamMary Graham

After he was jailed for seven and a half years, Mr Graham, of Pontefract, spoke of the devastating impact his careless driving had on the entire family.

He said: “To be honest, he got the sentence that we were expecting but it is a bit galling to hear that he will only serve half of it in prison, while we will never have Mary back.

“What he did that day ripped the heart out of our family and we have to live with the consequences every single day.”

Their daughter Karen Longstaff added: “My mum was the most beautiful, genuine, kindest lady with an amazing persona, she lived for her family. I just hope and pray that no one ever goes through what we are still going through.”

Her husband Paul spoke of his pride and upset at watching his 11-year-old son perform CPR on his seriously injured grandfather on the roadside while he was unable to move with a broken pelvis.

He said: “Nobody should have to live with what he tried to do for his own grandfather, but certainly not an 11-year-old child.”

Teesside Crown Court heard how Hussain, of Pilgrim Avenue, Dewsbury, had set off from his home in a friend’s rented van to make deliveries in Liverpool and Edinburgh before heading down the A1M to return home.

Ian West, prosecuting, told the court that moments before he smashed into the rear of the Toyota Auris the defendant had been using his mobile phone, albeit through Bluetooth, and was not paying full attention to the road and tried to blame Mrs Longstaff’s driving for the collision.

The high-speed impact left Mrs Graham with fatal injuries, her husband with a punctured lung and broken ribs, her son-in-law with a broken pelvis and fractured back.

Mr West said Hussain admitted drinking alcohol from a flask in the van and there was traces of cocaine in his system.

The court heard that Hussain had been banned from driving in 2011 and had never held a licence since then as well as been jailed for being involved in the supply of Class A drugs.

Hussain pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol, driving without insurance or a licence, aggravated vehicle taking and drink driving.

In mitigation, Brian Sharman, said his client apologised for his actions and read out a letter of apology the defendant had written to the family.

He said: "The consequence of Hussain's driving, and what happened on that day, were the last thing he ever wanted when he got into that vehicle and drove it."

Jailing the father-of-three, Judge Deborah Sherwin told him his selfish actions had torn the Graham family apart.

"It seems to me beyond coincidence that you were using the phone moments before the accident took place. It's clear that you were not paying the attention you should have been and it is clear that you didn't see it until the last minute," she said.

"There can be no words that can express the horrors that were suffered by, what is quite clearly a close and loving family, that has now had the heart ripped out of it."

Hussain was also banned from driving for six years and nine months.