Violet Youens hit-and-run death: Driver jailed

A man has been jailed for the hit-and-run death of a four-year-old girl who was struck by his speeding car when it mounted a pavement in Merseyside.

Violet-Grace Youens died after Aidan McAteer’s car struck her on Prescot Road, St Helens, on 24 March.

McAteer fled to Amsterdam but later pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court.

He was given a jail sentence of nine years and four months.

Violet-Grace’s grandmother Angela French was seriously injured in the crash. She remains in hospital.

Dean Brennan, 27, a passenger in the car, had pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and assisting an offender. He was jailed for six years and eight months.

The court heard the stolen Ford Fiesta, which had cloned number plates, travelled at speeds of about 80 mph in a 30 mph zone after passing a police car on a roundabout.

It went through two red lights before McAteer lost control on Prescot Road and hit a kerb, then crashed into Mrs French who had her granddaughter in her arms.

The car then hit a lamppost and the defendants, both from Prescot, got out and ran past Violet-Grace as she lay injured on the ground.

‘Desperately injured’

CCTV footage played in court showed them running down a nearby street after the crash.

Sentencing, Judge Denis Watson QC, said: “You must have seen Mrs French and Violet lying desperately injured on the road.

“Yet neither of you stopped, neither of you did anything to summon help, neither of you gave them a moment’s thought or gave them any assistance at all.

“Your thoughts were for yourself, your escape and of avoiding responsibility for what happened.”

Following the crash, McAteer’s mother Alicia made a public appeal to her son to return home.

The next day he was arrested at Manchester Airport and questioned by detectives. Brennan, meanwhile, admitted obtaining McAteer’s passport and giving it to him.

After her death, Violet-Grace’s family said the donation of her organs had saved two other lives.

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BBC News – UK

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