Mother describes pain of losing son and ‘best friend’ in hit-and-run crash

PA

The mother of a 12-year-old boy killed by a driver in a hit-and-run crash outside his school felt she had also lost her own life since his death, a court heard.

Harley Watson was struck by the car, driven by Terence Glover, as he left Debden Park High School with his friends on December 2 2019.

In a personal impact statement read to Snaresbrook Crown Court during Glover’s sentencing hearing on Friday, the boy’s mother Jo Fricker described her son as her “best friend”.

Harley Watson
Harley Watson

Reading the statement, prosecutor Christine Agnew said: “I wish the days away.

“It wasn’t just Harley’s life that was taken that day. I lost my life as well.

“Now I merely exist just so that my daughter can have a childhood with both her parents.”

In a tribute to her son, Ms Fricker’s statement said: “Harley and I had a very open relationship and he would talk to me about anything and everything. He was an extremely loving person. Both physically and emotionally.

“I could kiss and cuddle him in public and private and he would never pull away. He loved that I loved him.”

Harley Watson
Harley Watson

She added: “We had only just begun our journey as more than mother and son but friends. I know parents should be parents and not friends but Harley was my best friend.”

Harley was taken to Whipps Cross University Hospital but died from his injuries.

Glover, previously of Newmans Lane, Loughton, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility in November last year.

He pleaded guilty to further charges of attempted murder relating to 23-year-old Raquel Jimeno and six boys and three girls aged between 12 and 16, who cannot be named due to a court order.

He also admitted driving a Ford Ka dangerously in Willingale Road, Loughton.

Court artist sketch of Terence Glover
Court artist sketch of Terence Glover

Ms Fricker said that Harley was a “confident boy” and had passions for music and drama as well as football, as a keen supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC.

“Harley loved making friends wherever he went,” she said

“He attended a drama school and even though there weren’t many boys attending, he was keen to still go.

“In his first year he played a lead role in a theatre production in London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre. I was incredibly proud of him, as was he.”

Ms Fricker described her panic on the day of the incident and the difficulty of telling Harley’s eight-year-old sister, Jessie, that her brother had died.

“Harley enjoyed living and was going to make a positive impact in the world. He took life in his stride and wanted for nothing,” she said.

“It’s not often you can say that about a child in this day and age. He had such potential to be anything he wanted to be.”

“Harley will never be able to finish school and celebrate with his friends at prom. Drive a car or have his first alcoholic drink, something I’d tell him we’d do together.

“Fall in love, have a family, two children he said. Be whoever he wanted to be.”

The sentencing hearing continues.

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