A GRIEVING father paid a moving tribute to his loving son who was killed by a hit and run drug driver.

Colin Dobson read his victim impact statement at Cardiff Crown Court before Derek Richards was sentenced over the death of 19-year-old Rhys Dobson.

The teenager died instantly after being struck by the defendant who was high on amphetamine and cannabis whilst at the wheel of a Citroen C3 car.

Richards, 38, of Morgan Street, Blaenavon, was found guilty of causing death by careless driving following a trial.

Mr Dobson told Judge Nicola Jones before she jailed the defendant for three years: “On April 14 (2019) at 4.30am we were woken by two police officers at our door.


"They informed us there had been a single road traffic collision and a fatality. They had found Rhys' security lanyard at the scene and believed he was the fatality.

South Wales Argus:

Rhys with his mum Trina

"Being told Rhys had been killed has had a massive impact on all aspects of my life.

"The thought of him lying in the road for hours is gut-wrenching and all because Derek Richards did not stop.

"We had to endure social media posts by Derek Richards of road traffic collision videos and were approached by members of his family who said they were relieved he wouldn't be charged with an offence.

He was a champion for the underdog

"He was lying to everyone including his own family that he wasn't being actively investigated.

South Wales Argus:

Derek Richards

"My whole life revolved around Rhys. Everything I have done and worked for has been for him – he was an only child and the centre of our family.

"In the first 24 hours of being told Rhys had died I was in constant panic, was hyperventilating, and needed sedation due to the enormity of what I was told.

"I am an emergency nurse and was working agency at the time so was unable to take time off work but going to work was a huge struggle.

Everything is pointless and looks bleak without him

"Due to my job I have had to face the ambulance crew who saw to Rhys and it has been unfair on them because of the guilt they feel as there was nothing they could do to save him.

"My 72-year-old mother had to identify Rhys as I couldn't see him like that.

"All my career I have dealt with injury and death but I never imagined my own family would have to witness such horror."

He added: "I wanted to see Rhys grow up and have a family of his own. We had big plans for the future but that has all been taken away from us.

"Everything is pointless and looks bleak without him.

"I wanted to die because I can't deal with the pain of life anymore.

"When I sleep I dream of him which is lovely but when I wake up and reality hits I wish I died in my sleep.

"Rhys was loving and a joy. He was a champion for the underdog, was always looking out for others, and believed in justice.

"He had passed his driving test, loved his job, and had just been accepted for an apprenticeship as an electrician. His life was just beginning.

"He had loads of hobbies and an interest in Japanese culture. He was teaching himself the language and had plans to travel to Japan.

"He was an amazing son who was hugely devoted to us. He was always helpful and considerate and didn't have a mean bone in his body.

"Rhys's room has become a shrine for us as we can't bear to lose anything connected with him.

"He was just going about his business lawfully.

"His life was ended by someone who had a disregard for anyone else – he selfishly left the scene thinking only of himself.

"His actions have shown no remorse for the devastation he's caused.

"He's stolen Rhys' life away and my own. Our family has ended with Rhys."

After Richards was jailed, Rhys' family released a statement which read: "We came here to court today hoping for some justice for our only son Rhys.

"Even though no sentence would have been long enough to ever make up for the loss we have felt and still feel, the fact that some justice has been served in Rhys’ name has given us some comfort.

"Our only son has been taken away from us and there will never be anything that will make up for that, but the fact that a custodial sentence has been served is all that we could have asked for.

“We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation for the support and the work of the police, the family liaison officers for their support during this time, the CPS, the barristers, the jury and finally to the judge for the decision made today and even though it won’t bring our only son back to us, the ordeal we continue to go through has had an outcome that we hope will be testament not only to us as Rhys’ parents, but also to others to know that our son should not have died that night, and we have to live the rest of our lives without him.

"Mostly, it is testament to Rhys’ short life, and his ever lasting memory.

“Now we have to try to live on in Rhys’ name and his memory and in the knowledge that we as parents, with the help of the services mentioned have done all we can to bring justice for our son.

“We love and miss you Rhys and we always will.”