WITH his cheeky grin and dimples, Alex Peguero Sosa was a young lad who could do anything he set his mind to.

Determined and strong, able to talk to anyone from any background, Alex, 17, was a sports fanatic who had set his sights on a career in sports journalism.

Talking to his mum Janet and sisters Lucy and Clare at their home in Aveton Gifford, it is clear Alex was a real charmer, particularly when he was getting told off.

'He just used to laugh', they said. 'And then Mum would start laughing, and then that was it.'

Alex loved a range of sports and was a talented footballer. He began at local team KM United under Andy Hurrell before being scouted by Plymouth Argyle; he also played for Torquay United Development Centre, Loddiswell FC and Moreleigh Rangers.

To stay at a high level with his football, Alex won a scholarship to Hartpury Football Academy at Hartpury College in Gloucester. With a tough timetable of playing football and studying for four A-levels, it was hard work and he missed home, but he made good friends there.

Eventually he decided football was not to be and returned to the South Hams to finish his A-levels at Kingsbridge Community College, where he joined the local rugby team, Kingsbridge RFC.

Janet said the family later received a ­letter from the parents of one of Alex's teammates at Hartpury telling them about all the help Alex had given their son. Their son had been finding the workload hard and was becoming depressed, but Alex helped him revise and get back on track.

'Alex never told us about this,' Janet said, adding that, although he came across as confident, even cocky, it was never malicious and that he was sensitive and often in need of reassurance.

However, his confidence shone through when he 'catwalked' into the ­living room in just his pants whenever the family had been watching America's Next Top Model, complete with a 'turn and pout', or lounged against doors like a Hollywood starlet singing at top volume.

Alex was articulate and intelligent, often being called 'the posh kid from Kingsbridge' by his Plymouth mates for the way he spoke. He succeeded in ­getting a B, two Cs and a D in his AS-levels at Hartpury, with his family receiving the results in November last year.

While at KCC, Alex's self-assurance landed him the lead role in Othello during the Shakespeare Festival, although Janet said he almost regretted the ­decision to audition when he saw that he had 13 pages of lines in Shakespearean English to learn.

Although he was clever, he was always losing things. Janet related the story of the charger lost on the train.

'I got a call from him at college' she said. '"Mum, I think I've left my laptop charger on the train and I need it."'

Cue a stressful night for mum, ordering a new charger on the internet and getting it delivered to him, before she got another call the next day: '"I've got two now –

I found the other one."' Typical.

Full of fun and banter, Alex was ­constantly pulling April fools jokes – ­usually nowhere near April; and he was always winding up his family and friends with crazy sayings and nicknames.

Looking good was also a top priority in his life, according to his family. Hours of washing-up at the Oyster Shack were all worth it when he was paid and could go shopping for new threads, but not forgetting to slip his mum some petrol money.

Alex trained hard too: he was in the gym every weekday and on Saturdays, mainly to stay fit for his sport, but looking good was always a great by-product.

He once went to a fancy dress party as a caterpillar – as you do – and in the end abandoned the original costume for just his sister's borrowed T-shirt and a pair of tights. When questioned about this ­slightly inappropriate dress, his response was: 'Who cares? I look good.'

Competitive his whole life, even down to being timed at swimming lengths from an early age, Alex would not let anything hold him back.

He sustained a football injury to his knee that required surgery, and at a time when he was supposed to be resting it and avoiding running he and his friends were trying to decide who was fastest while in Plymouth one day. Ignoring medical advice, and unbeknownst to Janet, he joined in the race, and of course won it. This led to 'even injured I can beat you all' jokes and shouts.

As part of Alex's recovery from his injury, his physiotherapist had set him a goal of running up Stakes Hill, which runs past the Oyster Shack in Aveton Gifford. For anyone who doesn't know it, it is viciously steep.

When he decided he was fit enough to take it on, Janet dropped him off at the bottom then drove up and parked just a bit further than the top so she could park in a lay-by.

When Alex made it to her car he was sick from the exertion, proving how hard he'd pushed himself.

'Why didn't you park at the top?' he asked his mum breathlessly when he had recovered a bit.

Despite the obvious fact that he could have stopped whenever he wanted, Janet said his determination to get to where she had parked was palpable and he would not give up.

Alex's charm and cheekiness is ­something that is always mentioned, but his sisters say that 'you couldn't help but do things for him', and often you were cooking him something before you had even realised what you were doing.

He used to turn up at Clare's house, uninvited, stating: 'Mum's going to pick me up soon so I'll wait here,' before just collapsing on the sofa in front of the TV.

Following the court case, Janet, Clare and Lucy are full of thanks for the whole community, which they said supported them through this, the hardest period of their lives. They have received amazing levels of support from family and friends, and especially from Alex's friends.

Flowers, cards and bottles of wine were being left on their doorstep, which gave them the support and strength they needed; and their places of work, especially Jades and Boots, have been fantastic.

The family also singled out Tina Graham, head of the sixth form at KCC, who has been a great support to the ­family and to Alex's friends.

Many of Alex's friends came to the trial as often as they could and still visit the family, even some of his friends from ­preschool.

In a moving meeting, Janet and the girls were recently visited by the army medic who had been on scene on the night of Alex's death, who told them he had known 'Alex was a fighter' and that he had 'fought hard to stay alive'. The family found it reassuring that he had been there, giving his friends jobs to do and making sure he was being talked to and reassured.

They also praised the police, saying they 'couldn't fault them' and thanking 'the whole team'. They singled out Detective Inspector Ian Ringrose, calling him 'an amazing man' who 'always made time' to talk to them and keep them up to date with proceedings. They said the police had been 'very supportive' and 'respectful' and that they felt like they were 'part of a family', which made the whole ordeal more bearable.

The same went for the police liaison officer, Tobie Carter, and their barrister, Mr Simon Laws QC, who always took the time to let them know what was going on.

Janet summed Alex up by saying he 'lived life at 200mph', enjoying himself and making 'so many friends'. He was a living embodiment of the phrase 'live every day as if it's your last', and he did.