Zackary Blades: Woman whose son and sister were killed by drunk driver Darryl Anderson watches as he's jailed

A woman whose baby son and sister were killed by a drunk driver told a court how she had to "pick her dead baby up from the side of the road" before his killer was jailed.

Zackary Blades, eight months, and his aunt Karlene Warner, 30, died at the scene after the Peugeot 308 they were travelling in on the A1(M) was hit in the early hours of 31 May.

The baby's mother Shalorna Warner was driving the car after picking her sister up from the airport - before it was hit by Darryl Anderson, 38.

In a victim impact statement on Tuesday, she told Durham Crown Court that Zackary's body was found by a lorry driver on the opposite side of the road after the impact of the crash caused his car seat to fly from the vehicle.

"I heard a painful scream from the lorry driver crying: 'Oh no, he's here - your baby's here.' I jumped over to find my baby lying on the edge of the grass of the motorway," she said.

"I knew instantly. I had to pick my dead baby up from the side of the road. I hugged him so tight, a hug I will never forget.

"No words will surmount the irreparable hole that has been left in my heart and in my life."

Drunk - driving at 141mph while on phone

When Anderson, from Rotherham, was breathalysed, he had 95mg of alcohol in his blood - the legal limit is 35mg. He was driving at 141mph - and had taken a photo of his speedometer moments before the crash.

Records also showed he was on the phone when he crashed and had made several calls and sent several text messages during his journey from Newcastle Airport to the scene near Chester-le-Street.

'I stand before you a broken shell'

Ms Warner, who survived the crash, told the judge: "Your honour, I stand before you today a broken shell of a woman and a childless mother.

"But this guilt is not mine to bear - this guilt is owed to the person that caused this infinite agony. I hope the pain of this weighs them down for all eternity.

"Nothing will bring my son and my sister back to me. The only way forward for myself is if the defendant faces the same sentence I am facing - life. The irony of it all is that I will never see my loved ones again, but he will."

'My baby's future has been stolen'

She also described the "irreparable hole left in my heart and in my life" and said Zackary was a "rainbow baby" - one born after a previous pregnancy loss.

"My baby's future, my future, our life together, has been stolen from me. I won't ever see him look up and smile at me again," she said.

"I won't have that luxury. Instead, every second of every day I relive that night over and over again in my head, thinking what did my innocent little boy do to deserve this?"

"And for my sister, Karlene, I just have no words. I am so sorry this happened to you. It's hard to process something that doesn't seem real - it just feels like I am living a nightmare."

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Claims 'hitchhiker' was driving dismissed

Anderson initially denied the two charges of death by dangerous driving, claiming he picked up a hitchhiker who he had allowed to drive the car.

He also claimed he had fallen asleep and only awoke at the point of the crash.

This was disproven by investigators and he changed his pleas to guilty.

Tribute paid to witnesses to showed 'incredible bravery'

He was sentenced to 17 years in prison and banned from driving for 21-and-a-half years.

Speaking after the sentencing, Durham Constabulary's Detective Constable Natalie Horner paid tribute to the "witnesses who came upon the scene in the middle of the night and showed incredible bravery in how they acted".

"Darryl Anderson's name should now become a footnote in this tragic story," she said in a statement.

"The names we should remember, and the people who should remain in our thoughts, are Karlene and Zackary, and their remarkable family."