A MOTHER has paid tribute to her “lovely and loving” son who died in a car fire in a pub car park.

Kevin Heslop was living with his 82-year-old mother in Hemlington, Middlesbrough at the time of his death on Valentine's Day. He was 42.

Witnesses said Mr Heslop died in an intense fire while sat inside a Volkswagen Golf at The Stainton Pub, Stainton, about a mile-and-a-half from his home.

In a statement released through Cleveland Police, Elsie Heslop said: “Kevin was a lovely and loving son. He was my only child and was living with me at the time of his death. We were very close and I’ll miss him terribly.

“He wasn’t currently in a relationship, but he had lots of friends as he’d lived and attended school in this area from a very young age.

“People thought a lot of Kevin – he could be the life and soul of the party and I’ve had so many lovely cards, flowers and kind messages of support – even visits from people who were at school with him. I’m very touched by their kindness."

His mother said he had worked in the pub trade and had completed a management course.

"He was into computers and in his free time he also loved the outdoors, going on camping holidays and for long walks," she said. "Kevin was a real bookworm too, he was always reading.

“I would like to thank everyone who tried to help Kevin that evening at the pub, as well as the police and hospital staff.”

Witnesses have described how Mr Heslop had been reading a book and enjoying a drink inside the pub before leaving to go to the car.

Neighbours tried to save him after the fire took hold at 8.15pm, but to no avail.

A post-mortem later established that Mr Heslop died as a result of severe burns.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and the coroner is investigating.