who was struck by his speeding car when it mounted an asphalt in Merseyside. Violet-Grace Youens died after Aidan McAteer’s car struck her on Prescot Road, St Helens, on 24 March. McAteer, 23, 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 aggravated in the accident and remains in hospital.
The four-year-old’s family wore livid ribbons and heart badges for the court hearing.
Reading a personal statement in court, Glenn Youens said he cuddled his daughter’s teddy bear, which “still smells of her”, every night and reads hibernation stories to her ashes.
“I cry myself to sleep. I miss her so much,” he said. Dean Brennan, 27, an adventure in the car, had pleaded guilty to bugged agency taking and assisting an offender. He was beset for six years and eight months.
Both men were given driving bans for when they leave jail. McAteer was contraband for 10 years, while Brennan received a six-year ban.
The court heard the Ford Fiesta, which had been stolen from a community architect who works with young offenders, travelled at speeds of about 80mph in a 30mph domain after passing a police car on a roundabout.
It was driven through two red lights before McAteer, who did not have a driving licence, 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 addresses aggravated on the ground.
‘Desperately injured’ CCTV extension played in court showed them running down a beside street after the crash. Sentencing, Judge Denis Watson QC, said: “You must have seen Mrs French and Violet lying carelessly aggravated on the road. “Yet neither of you stopped, neither of you did anything to assemble help, neither of you gave them a moment’s thought or gave them any allotment at all. “Your thoughts were for yourself, your escape and of avoiding agency 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, acclaimed obtaining McAteer’s passport and giving it to him.
Peter Hussey, prosecuting, said McAteer told police after the accident he had decided to clear his head and “go to Amsterdam for a few days and air some weed”.
He told police he only found out days later a child had been involved in the crash.
McAteer’s defence lawyer Lloyd Morgan, said his client was “wracked with guilt, shame and abomination over his actions… which caused all involved such pain and heartache.”
After her death, Violet-Grace’s family said the allotment of her organs had saved two other lives.
Her mother Rebecca Youens spoke outside court paying acclaim to her “funny, brisk and caring” daughter, adding: “No sentence passed is ever going to bring Violet back and we are absolutely devastated.”