Banned driver guilty of killing boy, 5, who fell under the wheels of his …

A banned driver[1] has been convicted of causing the death of a five-year-old boy who fell under the wheels of his van.

Little Layton Darwood tragically died[2] after falling under the trailer of a Ford Transit Tipper he had been clambering on in Willow Avenue, Fenham, Newcastle, on August 24, 2020. Darren Jacques was behind the wheel at the time, but the 40-year-old was previously banned from driving. Jacques from Hutton Hill, Penrith, Cumbria, had just started to drive away when Layton became trapped, ChronicleLive reported[3].

Jacques stood trial at Newcastle Crown Court, charged with causing death by driving whilst disqualified. On Monday, a jury[4] of 12 people found him guilty. On that day, Layton had been out with three other children. They had gone into a nearby shop to purchase sweets and picnic supplies, after the eldest in the group was given a bank card.

Layton Darwood Layton Darwood tragically died during the incident ( Northumbria Police) Darren Jacques pictured at Newcastle Upon Tyne Combined Court Centre. Jacques had previously been disqualified from driving ( ChronicleLive)

Meanwhile, Jacques had parked his work van, towing a trailer with a small differ on the back, on a kerb outside the same shop, where he was buying alcohol. CCTV footage showed Jacques leaving the shop and jogging past Layton and other children on his way back to his vehicle.

However, while Jacques' vehicle was stationary, Layton climbed onto the trailer and the vehicle. As Jacques began to drive off, Layton tragically fell and was run over by the trailer's wheels, resulting in fatal injuries. The court heard that Layton may have tripped due to his shoelaces getting caught before falling under the wheels.

Sergeant Alan Keenleyside, a Forensic Collision Investigator for Northumbria Police[5], testified during the trial, stating his belief that Jacques was aware of the children's presence and should have exercised "greater care" when moving his vehicle.

Upon the arrival of the police, Jacques initially provided false personal details, including his name, date of birth, and address. He later confessed his real identity, explaining that he had "panicked". Despite emergency efforts to save Layton, the young boy was pronounced dead in hospital later that day. A post-mortem examination confirmed that the force exerted by the trailer's wheels rolling over Layton accounted for his fatal injuries.

Judge Adams told Jacques that sentencing would be deferred to a later date and ordered a pre-sentence report to be compiled. The judge told Jacques to expect an immediate custodial sentence, granting him bail until his subsequent court appearance.

A provisional sentencing date was set for Monday, December 4.

* This article was crafted with the help of an AI tool, which speeds up The Mirror's editorial research. An editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected][6]


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