A DEVASTATED mother has described how she came across the road accident that claimed the lives of her ten-year-old son and teenage daughter.

Karen Armstrong became concerned when eldest daughter, Lindsay, 26, called to say her sister, Jenna, 19, and brother Lee, ten, had failed to turn up for a prearranged visit on Saturday night.

Mrs Armstrong set off from her home to try to find the pair, but came across a police road block.

The 47-year-old retired nurse, now studying holistic medicine at New College, Durham, said: "Jenna and Lee had planned to see their sister Lindsay and her daughter, but Lindsay phoned to say they hadn't turned up.

"I drove along the route they had taken and came across the road block for the accident.

"I explained who I was to a police officer and he said two youngsters had been killed."

The brother and sister died in a three-car pile-up when Jenna's car collided with a black Honda Civic on the A693, near Chester-le-Street.

Her blue Citroen Saxo rebounded into an oncoming green Nissan Micra being driven by an elderly couple.

The brother and sister were on their way to visit Lindsay, in Consett, and their five-year-old niece, whom their mother said they doted on.

Both Jenna, and Lee, of Ouston, near Chester-le-Street, had spent time with their father and his new partner on a holiday in Corfu, in June.

Although their parents are separated they are still a very close family.

Paying tribute to his daughter, Ray Armstrong, 52, a retired policeman, said: "Jenna was a wonderful girl.

"She was lovely and she lived life to the full."

"She liked to speak her mind and she was independent, but she was devoted to her family and her dog Brandy - a golden retriever Jack Russell cross.

"I had just set her up in her own house and we were busy getting her everything she needed. She was just starting off in life really.

"She was training to be a nurse and had completed part of her training while she worked as a carer."

Referring to Lee, Mr Armstrong said: "He was never happier than when he was on the golf course with me or playing football for Hilda Park Football Club.

"He was just a wonderful little boy."

Mrs Armstrong said: "Jenna had such a great sense of humour.

"That is what I will remember most about her. She knew all of the teenage catchphrases and she used to bamboozle me with them."

She said Lee would be laid to rest in his Pelton Community Primary School team strip.