A teenage boy was killed in a horror smash while meeting his dad for the first time since he was two-years-old, his mum has revealed.
Tragic 15-year-old Jamie West was staying with his father, Stephen Ramsell, who had left the family home when he was just a toddler, in a bid to reform their relationship.
Both his mum, Sarah, and Jamie, were apprehensive about their meeting, which took place on the last weekend of the summer holidays last year, before Jamie was to go into his final year at school.
But the reunion was doomed when they went out for a spin during the night, when driver, David Everington, 28, – the boyfriend of Stephen‘s step-daughter – lost control of his silver Subaru Impreza, killing the son and dad who were passengers.
This week, Sarah asked to meet up with Everington after he was jailed for six years for causing the death by dangerous driving of her son and his 37-year-old dad.
Everington was “speeding and showing off” in front of Stephen, Stephen‘s two step-daughters and Jamie when he lost control on unfamiliar winding roads and hit a road sign and a wall.
Mum-of-three Sarah, from Mexborough, South Yorks., had sat in court and watched Everington admit his crime and be jailed but she still had questions she desperately wanted answering.
The call centre worker said: “From the court case you get your facts and figures but you don’t see what the person was really like.
“I needed closure and to find the final pieces of the jigsaw.”
The 36-year-old met Everington, 28, at Lindholme Prison, Doncaster, South Yorks., as part of Restorative Justice Week.
She told how Everington, from Barnsley, South Yorks., had apologised to her.
She said: “He said sorry and he was very remorseful about what happened.
“They had all gone in the car for a late night spin. It is a fast car he was driving so he was showing off.
“Tragically he wasn’t familiar with the roads and the road where he crashed is a very windy and bendy road. He lost control on Cusworth Lane, near Cusworth Hall, and hit a wall and a lampost.”
Sarah had raised their two sons, Jamie and his older brother, Ashley, 18, on her own after splitting with Stephen, from Doncaster, South Yorks., when they were toddlers.
She now has a six-year-old daughter, Leah.
She said: “We were very close. I brought them up on my own.
“It is so sad that Jamie had his whole life ahead of him. He was soon to be leaving school and it was all set in place for him to go into the police force.”
Jamie had gone to stay with his unemployed father for the last weekend before school in August last year.
Sarah told how both she and Jamie were feeling a little apprehensive about the meeting.
But her worst fears were confirmed when she got a knock on the door at 2am, telling her about the accident, which happened at 1.20am.
She said: “In the accident Stephen‘s body had been flung from the car and had landed by the driver’s side.
“Because of this, David and the girls had said that Stephen was the one driving. And even when David came clean nine weeks later and said he was driving, police did not believe him because of how his body was found.
“But it turned out Jamie had filmed the drive on his mobile phone and that showed who was driving.
“I am pleased I met up with David, I didn’t know the person responsible and I didn’t know what happened that night.
“We had a really open conversation. From going to see him I got information about why there were other people in the car, why they were showing off and what type of person he was.
“He is a family man with three children and he just made a really bad mistake at that time.
“I still remain angry at him but I put the blame on his father. He was in his dad’s care that weekend and he should have been looking after him.”
Since its launch in June, South Yorkshire Restorative Justice hub has processed 1,342 cases for initial contact, 245 of which are still live, and to date there has been six face-to-face meetings and 15 written communications.
Remedi, South Yorkshire’s restorative justice provider, assesses each case for suitability after a victim asks to meet the offender.
The meeting can take place in the prison or at an agreed location.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “When a crime is committed, many victims feel it was personal, that they are still unsafe and sometimes they were to blame.
“By having to opportunity to speak to those who have committed the crime, they will find this is very often not the case.”