A MUM has warned of the dangers of travelling abroad, after her caring son was killed on a trip of a lifetime.

Luke Howard, 21, died after his scooter was in collision with a taxi on the Thai island of Koh Phangan.

He was fulfilling an ambition to go travelling and was four months into a seven-month trip, which would have taken him to Australia, before returning home to South Woodham Ferrers in November.

His mum, Debbie Knight, said people should not take risks after it emerged Luke was not wearing a helmet.

She said: “The message we want to get across is just be careful, the standard of driving here is safer. Go and do it and have the time of your life, but don’t forget safety.

“Don’t get on a motorbike without a helmet, don’t presume you’re safe because it looks like paradise. It is dangerous.”

She said Luke had been having the time of his life.

“He was in paradise,” said his mum. “He had gone on his own and met up with people. He rented an apartment for about five weeks in Bangkok and he lived among the locals.”

Mrs Knight said it was the second time he had visited Koh Phangan. She added: “The first time he went, he had his scooter stolen and then returned. I felt a bit uneasy about him going there and I told him to be careful.”

The first his family knew of the crash was when a friend, also in Thailand, posted a message on Luke’s Facebook page, saying: “Heard about the accident, hope you’re alright.”

But Mrs Knight said, after calling the Foreign Office and getting nowhere, she flew to Koh Phangan to find out he had died on July 14.

She said: “Luke had died before we even left the country. The Thai authorities didn’t have him under the right name, they had used his middle name as his surname, so they didn’t know it was him.

“We were taken to this backstreet morgue. They tried to get money from us before they would allow us to see him.

“One of the morgue workers then took us back to the airport in the back of a pick-up truck.

“It was the most awful experience. It’s not how you should be treated when you have lost a child.”

Luke’s stepdad Bob Knight, who is the headteacher at Darlinghurst Primary School, in Leigh, said: “We weren’t given enough information by the Foreign Office and were told accidents like this happen all the time. It’s a disgrace.”

Mrs Knight said Luke, who attended the William De Ferrers Secondary School, had grown into a caring young man.

She said: “He’s the kind of person who would never walk past a problem.

“His nan and I paid for his trip. He sent me a message saying thank you for helping him to achieve his dreams.”

Luke, of Celeborn Street, had been working as a caretaker at a school in Edmonton, North London.

He leaves brothers Jake, 14, and Peter, 23, and sisters, Alex, 17, and Kerry, 20.