A BANNED driver has been found guilty over the death of a five-year-old boy who died after being trapped under the wheels of his van.
Layton Darwood had fallen underneath the trailer of Darren Jacques' Ford Transit Tipper after he climbed on it.
Jacques, who was banned from driving at the time for drink-driving, then pulled away – leaving the youngster pinned under the van's wheels.
The 42-year-old has now been found guilty of causing Layton's death by driving while disqualified.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how the horror unfolded in August 2020 after Layton went to the shops with three other kids to buy sweets.
Jacques was in the store at the time buying alcohol and had left the van, which was towing a trailer with a small digger on it, outside.
CCTV footage showed him leaving and jogging past Layton and the other children as he went back to his van.
Tragically, Layton had clambered onto the trailer but fell when Jacques began driving off.
He suffered fatal injuries as he was crushed by the wheels.
Meanwhile, a "panicked" Jacques gave a false name and false details about his date of birth and address to the police.
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Sergeant Alan Keenleyside, a Forensic Collision Investigator for Northumbria Police, said the driver was aware the children were there and he should have taken "greater care" when moving away.
Jacques was bailed ahead of his sentencing on December 4.
Layton’s mother Stephany said on behalf of the family: “We are devastated by what happened and miss Layton beyond words.
"He was a loving, happy little boy with his whole life ahead of him and our worst nightmare came true the day we lost him.
“Although some sort of justice has been served today it’s a very bitter sweet situation. It has taken a long, hard three years with many set-backs and challenges along the way.
“If it had not been for the determination of my mam and Northumbria Police we would not be here today, seeing justice be served for Layton.
“A common saying among police is ‘deeds not words’ and in this case the deeds of Sergeant Ray Lowery, Sergeant Russ Surrey and PC Greg Huntley have well outweighed all the words ever spoken.”
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