THE family of a man who killed his girlfriend in a drink and drug-fuelled joyride say they tried all they could to keep him on the straight and narrow.
Lewis Young was jailed for eight years last week for causing the death, by dangerous driving, of his 16-year-old girlfriend Payton Sparks.
Payton – known as Poppy – died instantly when the car came off the road on May 25, and ploughed into a wall in Petersfield Road, Havant. A 14-year-old passenger, Thomas Frost, was also seriously injured.
Disqualified driver Young, 19, had taken drugs ketamine and meow meow before downing cider and getting behind the wheel of his father’s car.
Since Payton’s death Young’s family have had ‘murderer’ and ‘killer’ daubed over their driveway.
But mum Kerry Young, 35, said they too are devastated by Payton’s death and said her son was deeply ashamed of what happened and wishes he could have died with her.
The 35-year-old said: ‘I can’t even begin to imagine what Payton’s mum is going through.
‘I genuinely feel absolutely gutted that she has not got her little girl any more. I don’t want anyone to look at him and think “poor Lewis” – what’s happened is his fault – and it has devastated so many lives.’
In court, Mrs Young’s husband Zack was painted as an alcoholic and it was claimed police were a constant presence at the family home because of domestic abuse.
But Mrs Young said: ‘That isn’t true. Zack is not an alcoholic and the only time police were called was to protect my other children from Lewis.
‘We have no problems with our other children.
‘My second eldest son has passed his exams with flying colours and he is at college now.
‘But Lewis has never been right. Right from a baby I knew there was something wrong.
‘By nine months he could talk and walk. But as soon as he started school he stopped learning. He can’t even write his name, he can’t even tell the time and he is 19.
‘I’ve tried everything to help him – doctors, police, the school, psychologists. He was diagnosed with ADHD and has been on medication since he was 11. He is also borderline Tourette’s. He has tics.
‘But I believe there is something much more serious that is undiagnosed.’
Mrs Young said the problems became more extreme when her son got a job at 16 and earned money to be able to buy drugs.
She added: ‘I feel like we’re being targeted as parents when we have tried our hardest with Lewis and taken him to every organisation we can think of for help, right from early on.’