THE family of Rob Stephenson have spoken of the terrible impact on their lives following his death.

Last Thursday, taxi driver Frank Norman, who ran over the student who was lying in the road in York, was cleared of causing his death by careless driving.

The jury at York Crown Court took an hour and 45 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict that Mr Norman, 71, of Brunel Court, off Leeman Road, York, was not guilty.

Mr Norman told the jury he had no time to take avoiding action when he saw Rob as he lay in his path on the road near the junction of Micklegate and Priory Street. He had thought there was a bin bag in front of him and kept driving.

Judge Paul Batty QC said: “The court would wish to pay tribute to the quiet dignity of Robert’s family during the currency of these proceedings and the court acknowledges their obvious grief and abiding loss of one so loved.”

Rob, of Pickering, was 21 when he died on March 26, 2016 and was in the final year of an agricultural degree course at Newcastle University.

Following the trial Rob's parents, Patrick and Nicki, and his older brother Sam, said: “We are extremely disappointed at the outcome of the court trial. However, we respect the court process and the outcome despite this being an extremely distressing process for us all.

"We’d like to thank family and friends for their support throughout the last 18 months, in particular Jill and Mark Sykes and James Machin during the court process."

The family said Rob had loved sport and they had set up The Rob Stephenson Trust to help young people participate in sport.

"To date this has raised more than £100,000 and has sent sports equipment to many clubs within the UK and abroad to India, Nigeria, Kenya, Brazil the list is endless," they said.

"The motto for the charity is 'Laugh Live Learn Pla' and that has become our family mantra. As a family we have had to learn to deal with our loss, but a family of four to become a family of three has had a terrible impact on all of our lives.

"Nothing seems worth celebrating anymore and therefore we don’t. Instead we have steered our lives towards fundraising activities to keep the memory and spirit of Rob alive in our hearts.

"People ask if we are okay, and the truth is we are not, but we are still living and breathing and therefore we have to function. Death is traumatic at any age, but when a young man has so much of his life ahead of him and then to have nothing seems utterly unfair.

"In light of this tragedy, we would like people to learn from this and get the message out to other drivers in York who are out late at night, please do not assume that every ‘bin bag’ they may see and look to drive over, contains rubbish."