HEARTBROKEN George “Jud” Bentham held his pal Robert Tepper’s hand as he died, in the aftermath of Mexborough’s triple-fatal death crash, the Times can reveal.
George, 17, was a passenger in the three-year-old Vauxhall Astra that overtook a Fiat Punto on Adwick Road – seconds before their friends in the Vauxhall Corsa tried to do the same.
The Corsa ploughed head-on into a VW Golf coming the other way, as George watched the carnage unfold behind.
The Astra driver pulled up and George ran back up the road, to find the Corsa’s occupants – driver Jono Scott and Robert, both 17, and their girlfriends, 16-year-olds Lauren Birkett and Chloe Newby – all unconscious in the wreckage.
A family friend said: “George saw it happen, and he went to the scene to be there with Robert.
“He held Robert’s hand and Robert clutched his fingers as he died.
“George is in a terrible state of shock. He doesn’t want to see anyone. He just can’t stop crying”.
In a Facebook tribute, Robert’s sister, Lauren Tepper, thanked George for staying with her brother to the end.
She wrote: “Thanks for staying with him George, your mum told us.”
George himself wrote on Facebook: “Worst thing I have ever seen in my life and the worst words I have ever heard, some (one) tellin’ me that your mates have passed away.
“Still never get the thought out of my head of a police officer tellin’ you your closest mates have died.. still unbelievable.”
He adds: “Did everything I could”.
Ironically, Jono Scott had only got the death car back on the road 10 days before the accident.
The 17-year-old – who only passed his test last May – had been awaiting an electronic control unit for his engine – which finally .arrived on December 17.
Danny Cotton, 18, who was in the Astra, remains shattered by the crash that claimed his friends.
Too upset to speak himself, his mum told the Times her son was devastated as the group were “extremely close knit”.
She added: “He’s really devastated, we all are. We’re all grieving. They were a great set of kids.
“I can’t speak for the other parents but everyone is heartbroken.”
Several of the trio’s friends, including Danny and Jud, have made sure their pals will never be forgotten – by getting tattooed with their names and the date of the crash.
Meanwhile, Chloe Newby – who survived the crash, but was rushed to hospital with serious injuries – is now believed to be on the mend.
Writing on Facebook, her dad, Kerry Newby, said 16-year-old Chloe was now stable, despite under going the surgeon’s knife to have plates put in her arms and legs.
He thanked his many well-wishers for their support and prayers.
The funerals of Lauren, Robert and Jono are expected to take place next week.