THE mother of a young woman who died at the hands of a dangerous driver racing against her boyfriend made a powerful impact statement before her killer was sentenced.

Neil Brooks, aged 49, of Lansbury Terrace, Beaufort, Ebbw Vale, was jailed for eight years after he was found guilty over the death of 20-year-old Sophie Brimble in Brynmawr.

He was convicted of causing the Crickhowell woman’s death by dangerous driving and of causing serious injury to her partner Jay Bayliss following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court.


Prosecutor Matthew Cobbe read out a powerful victim impact statement on behalf of Miss Brimble’s mother, Ruth Jenkins.

She said: “On July 26, 2017, our lives changed forever. Having the police officer tell us that Sophie my daughter had died left us in complete shock and for days everything was a daze.

“Having to identify Sophie’s body was hard. Having to walk into that room seeing her lying there, she looked like she was sleeping.

“I remember thinking that for a split second she looked so peaceful.

“I kissed her goodbye and stroked her face, still numb with disbelief that she was gone.

“I was so angry with Jay Bayliss for driving like an idiot. How could he be so stupid and selfish? I was angry with Sophie for being in that situation, for putting us through this, for making her nine-year-old brother so upset.

“My other two daughters have lost their best friend. Sophie’s nephew aged four couldn’t understand why his auntie had gone to the stars, asking his mum, ‘When is Sophie coming back?’

“His mum having to be strong coping with her own loss and helping him through this.”

“Having to arrange a funeral not knowing what her wishes would be. We should have been making plans to celebrate her 21st birthday.

“I never expected in a million years that I would be arranging a funeral for one of my children.

“I threw myself into work almost ignoring the fact that my daughter was no longer here, as if I didn’t think of it, then it didn’t happen.

“My children and grandchildren keep me going, the reason why I get up in the morning to carry on, always having a heavy feeling of sadness that never seems to go away and sometimes guilt.

“Simple things like walking to town, hoping not to bump into anybody you know, because you have to make conversation, when all you want to do it be left alone.

"People ask, ‘How are you?’ I reply fine when really my heart is broken and I just want to scream. People say, ‘You are so brave.’ Not really, I’m just a good actor.

“I keep busy, in fact we all do but those feelings of sadness never go away. For a second, when I wake up. I forget, then it all comes back and the feeling of sadness is back and I realise I will never see Sophie again and that is the hardest part.

“This should never have happened. All down to the two drivers’ stupidity and carelessness with no thoughts of the consequences.”