The family of a man who was murdered when he was deliberately run over after intervening in a fight has paid tribute to him, after his killer was convicted.
Off-duty ambulance worker Sheldon Flanighan died and his friend Wayne Common were seriously injured in April.
Mr Flanighan’s sister, Julia, said his family has been “utterly shattered and heartbroken” by her brother’s death.
Toby Kelly, of Blyth, was found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday of murder and attempted murder.
The court heard the 38-year-old, who had drunk up to nine pints of lager, targeted the men with his van outside the Bay Horse Inn in Cramlington, after they tried to stop him attacking his girlfriend.
He will be sentenced on Wednesday.
Jurors heard Kelly became angry and was fighting with his partner after pub staff refused to serve their group more drinks.
Mr Flanighan and Mr Common, who were dining with another friend, attempted to intervene, prompting Kelly to shout he would “kill” them.
He went out to his van and drove around the car park before smashing into them when they went outside to catch their lift home.
Mr Flanighan, 55, from Northumberland, had worked for the North East Ambulance Service, in its patient transport team, for almost 30 years.
Following the verdict on Thursday, the victim’s sister, writing on behalf of his family, said his two sons had been “deeply affected” by their father’s loss and “miss him terribly”.
“My sister and I are utterly broken. We grew up with Sheldon, our younger brother, and expected to grow old with him too,” she added.
“The thought of losing a sibling is unimaginable to so many people, but as Sheldon’s sisters, his absence is a painstaking reality that we wake up to every day.
“Sheldon’s parents have been suffering severe ill health since his death. It is just unimaginable for a parent to outlive their child.
“The grief and pain have been, and will forever continue to be, unbearable for them.”
She thanked Northumbria Police and the crown prosecution team for ensuring that her brother’s killer “did not evade justice”.
“We trust that Sheldon has found eternal rest,” she added.
“He will be remembered in our hearts forever, and we hope to be reunited with him when our times come to pass.
“We also dare to pray that no other family will be forced to endure our experience.”