A man who filmed an accident scene as his friend was dying has been told his punishment would be to ‘live with his actions’.
Thomas Beadle, 20, avoided jail after admitting causing death by reckless driving.
His court appearance came after an accident killed his friend Blaine Darnell, 19, in September last year.
Beadle shared Snapchat videos and photos of the immediate aftermath of the fatal crash he caused on the A177 Durham Road in Stockton.
While he was doing this, his friend was dying in his car.
Teesside Crown Court heard Beadle was driving his Peugeot 308 too close and too fast behind Blaine’s Vauxhall Corsa.
This meant he was unable to stop as his friend was slowing down at some temporary traffic lights.
Beadle’s car collided with Blaine’s, causing the latter’s vehicle to move into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Drivers and an off-duty paramedic rushed to the 19-year-old’s aid, but were unable to save his life.
An autopsy revealed that Blaine had died from head and neck injuries sustained on impact, which would have resulted in immediate loss of consciousness and death shortly thereafter.
His heartbroken mother, Zoe Darnell, has opened up about how her son told her he loved her just hours before he died.
She said: ‘I never thought it would be the last time I saw him alive. Only a few hours later, I had to identify my son’s body in the hospital – a vision I can’t get out of my head.
Blaine’s family had seen the pictures and videos Beadle posted on social media, which they said made them “hate him for what he did.”
Ms Darnell said: ‘You talk to your family but Blaine can’t. I’m disgusted by the photos and videos you posted that night knowing he was still in the car.
‘You should know the cost to me and my family for killing my son, why didn’t you call an ambulance? Instead, you took videos as he passed away in the car.
In a tribute to her son, Ms Darnell had also described Blaine as ‘loving, caring, witty, hardworking’ who is set to ‘celebrate his 21st birthday’.
Although Beadle was unable to explain why he sent the photos to Snapchat, his lawyers argued that he did not understand the seriousness of the situation.
Fiona Lamb, mitigating, said: ‘It is very clear from the defendant’s messages that he did not know the seriousness of what had happened.
“He was clearly aware it was serious but didn’t know how serious the situation was for Blaine.
“He is remorseful and devastated.”
Beadle is now also terrified of both driving and being driven in cars, and commutes to work on a push bike.
Judge Howard Crowson said: ‘Your real sentence will not be imposed by me. Your real pain is a lifetime to live knowing that if you had driven more carefully, your friend would still be alive.
Beadle was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.
He was also sentenced to perform 250 hours of unpaid work, perform 30 days of compulsory rehabilitative activity and be banned from driving for two years.
He must also respect a curfew for four months between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
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