A heartbroken mother has expressed the emotional turmoil of losing her son in a road traffic collision following the sentencing of a teenager who was driving the car her son was travelling in.

Joseph Callender died when the car he was a passenger in lost control on the blind crest of a hill on a country road, at Marwood near Barnard Castle at about 5.25pm on January 25 last year.

The car, a red Ford Fiesta. which was been driven by novice driver Luka Laybourn swerved to the offside and then back across the B6278, crashing into a wall on the opposite side, before mounting a mound of mud and striking a tree.

In court on Friday (May 10), Laybourn was sentenced to a five-year sentence in a young offenders’ institution and a 90-month ban from driving.

During the case, the bereaved mother of Joseph Callender submitted a victim statement - describing that her son, who had just turned 17 at the time, was, “full of enthusiasm for the future”, with an aim to learn how to drive, but he had only had one lesson by the time of his death.

She described him as: “Popular, funny, intelligent, handsome and cheeky,” and loved by his wide number of friends, and his small circle of close friends.

But she said he was also a bit of a home bird who loved spending time with his mother and playing computer games.

She said he left school in the summer of 2022 before beginning an electrician’s course at Darlington College in September of that year.

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To the best of her knowledge, it was the first time her son had been in the car with Laybourn, who had only recently passed his driving test.

She said she questioned whether Laybourn had any remorse because he only pleaded guilty when it was proved that he was driving at more than 100mph when he lost control.

Concluding her statement, she added: “I simply can’t comprehend that my gently giant of a boy has gone.”