A mother refused compensation after her son was killed by joyriders has been given fresh hope after insurance industry officials admitted mistakes were made.

The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) is asking independent arbitrators to review a £7,500 compensation claim from the family of nine-year-old Ross Doyle, who was killed by a speeding stolen car in Pegasus Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, in 2000.

As reported in last week's Oxford Mail, his mother Cheryl Doyle, of Redwood Close, Greater Leys, was originally told by the MIB the application was submitted after its three-year cut-off point and it had to be rejected.

But the family said they were acting on advice from police and solicitors that they could not apply until after their son's inquest, which was delayed until 2004 due to the extensive criminal investigation.

After her plight appeared in the Oxford Mail, Oxford East MP Andrew Smith joined the fight, and the MIB admitted it made mistakes.

It has sent the case to arbitrators despite telling Mrs Doyle incorrectly it had been referred last year.

Mrs Doyle said: "We've always said it is not about the money, it is the principle. We can't put a value on our son's life.

"But now we learn we've been waiting all this time for the arbitrators to get back to us, but the arbitrators were never even told about it. It is getting ridiculous. At least in the past week since the article appeared and Andrew Smith MP has been writing letters we have found out more than we have managed for years."

Ross was killed when he was struck by a stolen car driving at about 80mph as he was walking back from football training. No-one was ever convicted of killing Ross.

The MIB protects victims of uninsured, untraced or negligent drivers.

Mr Smith wrote to the MIB's chief executive Ashton West asking for the case to be reviewed.

This week the bureau apologised for not sending the case to arbitrators but maintained the claim had missed its three-year deadline.

Mr Smith said: "I have received a reply from the MIB which accepts that they were at fault in not referring it to arbitration. I am going to keep going and do everything I can to get what Mrs Doyle is entitled to because this delay is quite wrong. It is an awful tragedy and this is piling on the agony."

MIB technical head Trevor Harrison said: "It remains our position that a claim should have been submitted within the three-year period specified by the Untraced Drivers Agreement.

"However, we have decided to refer the claim's case file to an independent arbitrator.

"The MIB should have passed the details to the arbitrator more quickly and apologise for the delay.

"We expect that the arbitration process will take several weeks.

"We will pass on the arbitrator's decision to the family and their solicitors as quickly as possible."