A popular teenager suffered fatal injuries when he was thrown from a friend’s car after it crashed at high speed into a wall and trees, before tumbling into a field.

Novice driver Luka Laybourn lost control of the Ford Fiesta having exceeded 100-miles per hour on the blind crest of a hill on a country road, at Marwood near Barnard Castle, at about 5.25pm on January 25 last year.

Durham Crown Court heard that the Fiesta swerved to the offside and then back across the B6278, crashing into a wall on the opposite side, before mounting a mound of mud and striking a tree.

John Crawford, prosecuting, said the Fiesta then tumbled about 90-metres along the road, detaching various parts of the car as it went, and at one point being on its roof.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Defendant Luka Laybourn has admitted causing the death of Joseph Callender, inset, by dangerous

The rear axle and the windscreen were forced off, before the car careered into a second tree and stone wall, tumbling into a field, where it came to rest.

Mr Crawford said almost every part of the front of the car was detached and all five air bags deployed.

A woman working in a nearby stable yard heard the crash and immediately rang for the emergency services, before heading to the crash scene.

As she did so, a bloodied Laybourn approached her in an apparent state of shock and told her: “I think he’s in the car. He’s dead,” referring to his front seat passenger, Joseph Callender.

Laybourn told the woman he was "only going 60" and he believed he had hit a stone on the road.

Seventeen-year-old Joseph was found against a stone wall and he lost consciousness within a short time.

He was looked after by people from the stables, who had first-aid training, until paramedics arrived to take over at the scene.

Mr Crawford said it was believed Joseph was thrown from the car as it rolled down the road.

It was thought, from his injuries, that he had been wearing a seat belt.

Mr Crawford said Joseph was taken to hospital suffering extensive injuries from which his death was confirmed four days later.

Examination of the road found there were no objects causing an obstruction while it was estimated the car was travelling at 108 miles per hour when power was lost at the point of the first collision, and even with braking it would have been 103mph.

Mr Crawford said an experienced police driver test-drove along the stretch of road and the highest speed he felt able to reach was 90mph before feeling his vehicle was becoming unsteady to control.

Two mobile phones were recovered from the crash scene and there was no evidence either was being used at the time of the collision.

But videos found on Laybourn’s phone, taken by a different passenger, showed him driving at between 90 and 110mph on the two preceding days.

Laybourn tested negative for both drugs and alcohol.

In interview, both days after the crash and several months later, he maintained that he was driving within the 60mph speed limit and that he hit something on the road causing him to lose control.

In a victim statement, read to the court, Joseph’s mother said he had just turned 17 at the time and was, “full of enthusiasm for the future”, with an aim to learn how to drive, but he had only had one lesson by the time of his death

She described him as: “Popular, funny, intelligent, handsome and cheeky,” and loved by his wide number of friends, and his small circle of close friends.

But she said he was also a bit of a home bird who loved spending time with his mother and playing on computer games.

She said he left school in the summer of 2022 before beginning an electrician’s course at Darlington College in September of that year.

To the best of her knowledge, it was the first time her son had been in the car with Laybourn, who had only recently passed his driving test.

She said she questioned whether Laybourn had any remorse because he only pleaded guilty when it was proved that he was driving at more than 100mph when he lost control.

Concluding her statement, she added: “I simply can’t comprehend that my gently giant of a boy has gone.”

The, now, 19-year-old defendant, of Flatts Road, Barnard Castle, admitted causing death by dangerous driving, at a plea hearing at the court, in March.

Dan Cordey, in mitigation, said Laybourn was of previous good character with no past convictions.

Mr Cordey said contrary to what had been said earlier in the hearing, his client does feel, “genuine remorse”, for what he did.

“While he may be a young man not very good at expressing things, he is someone who is genuinely sorry and remorseful and had the courage to put in a guilty plea at the first opportunity at court.

“He knows he will receive a custodial sentence today and has had that hanging over him for the past year.

“He’s somebody who will find it more difficult than most young men being in custody and he will struggle to cope.”

Mr Cordey said the defendant is believed to have some level of autism and has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, including nightmares and flashbacks, since the accident.

Judge Jo Kidd said Joseph was only in Laybourn’s car for little more than ten minutes before the accident.

“You drove on a country road, subject of a 60mph speed limit.

“It would have been getting quite dark.

“For those of you living near that area you would have been well aware of the lay-out of that road.

“You would have understood that the road signage indicated it was not safe to overtake.

“The fact you were approaching the crest of the hill should have been a warning to you about how to approach that stretch of the road.

“Having passed your driving test only three weeks earlier and received a car a week before this terrible accident, you began to drive in a way that was acutely dangerous.

“That was evident on January 23 and 24, when its clear you also had a front seat passenger with you on those occasions.

“It’s difficult to understand your motivation.

“It’s possible you were simply showing off in front of other people.

“You had no regard for your own safety or for that of your passengers.

“An experienced police driver undertook that road and it was clear to him with his extensive experience that going any faster than 90 on that stretch of road carried with it ‘extreme risk’, and that was for an experienced professional driver.”

Judge Kidd said having just passed his test, the defendant, “embarked on a pattern of driving” which culminated in the death of a friend, on January 25, last year.

“You were driving at like speeds with passengers in the front of your car, putting those passengers and yourself at catastrophic risk of becoming a casualty.”

She said that in passing sentence she had to bear in mind the defendant was only just 18 at the time, was immature and probably had a diagnosis of suffering autistic disorder.

Imposing a five-year sentence in a young offenders’ institution, she also disqualified Laybourn from driving for a total of 90 months.

She said upon expiry of that ban Laybourn must pass an extended re-test if he wants to lawfully drive in future.