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Killer Aidan McAteer to spend almost same time in jail as Violet-Grace Youens was alive

May 19, 2017 6:21 PM
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Killer Aidan McAteer to spend almost same time in jail as Violet-Grace Youens was alive

McAteer, 23, from Prescot, fled the country after killing the four-and-a-half-year-old on Prescot Road in St Helens

Aidan McAteer will spend almost the same time in jail his tragic hit and run victim Violet-Grace Youens was alive.

McAteer fled the country after knocking down the four-and-a-half-year-old in a stolen car at 80mph on a 30mph road in St Helens .

Violet-Grace and her nan Angela French were mown down on a pedestrian crossing and she later died in her mum Rebecca’s arms at hospital.

Mrs French, 55, has since had both her knees replaced, may need to have her right leg amputated and could never walk again.

Cowardly McAteer, 23, and passenger Dean Brennan, 27, were captured on CCTV fleeing the scene, as “horrified” witnesses rushed to help the victims.

The driver was arrested nearly a week later at Manchester Airport, the day after his mum made a tearful plea for him to return home.

He was today jailed for nine years and four months – meaning he will only serve four years and eight months behind bars.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Mrs French was carrying Violet-Grace across Prescot Road at around 3pm on Friday, March 24.

They were struck by a black Ford Fiesta ST3, stolen in Toxteth and sporting cloned plates, with provisional driver McAteer at the wheel.

He went through two sets of red lights at “motorway speeds”, which witnesses said were “bound to cause an accident”, after spotting a police car.

McAteer lost control, struck a kerb and hit the victims, before the high performance car collided with a lamp post and spun backwards.

Peter Hussey, prosecuting, said: “Despite the bodies of both Mrs French and the child lying in the road, patently critically injured, both defendants left the damaged Ford Fiesta and ran away.”

Unconscious Violet-Grace died from “unsurvivable head, neck and pelvic injuries” after her family agreed to turn off life support.

Mrs French suffered spinal, rib, jaw and foot fractures. Most of her teeth were shattered and she remains in hospital.

CCTV showed McAteer and Brennan sprint off, when one was heard to say “don’t shout my name” and “don’t make it look as though you’re running”.

Within 15 minutes McAteer rang his mum asking for his passport and Brennan collected it five minutes later.

Mr Hussey said Alicia McAteer felt “numb and shocked” when she recognised him on CCTV stills that night.

He said: “She knew out of conscience she had no choice but to do the right thing and called the police.”

Brennan surrendered himself to police in tears on March 27, but refused to name McAteer and said he didn’t know the car was stolen.

When McAteer was finally arrested he denied speeding, claimed witnesses were lying and suggested he “saw nothing and no-one in the road”.

Mr Hussey said: “He said he then decided to clear his head and ‘go to Amsterdam for few days and smoke some weed’.”

Violet-Grace’s parents Rebecca, 29, and Glenn Youens, 30, told the court their daughter left “a void that will never be filled”.

McAteer, a convicted burglar, admitted causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

Lloyd Morgan, defending, said he offered his “sincere condolences” to the family.

Mr Morgan said: “Aidan McAteer is regarded by many as a heartless and wicked man.

“Evil he is not. He is a young man wracked with guilt, shame and horror.”

Convicted drug dealer Brennan admitted aggravated vehicle taking and assisting an offender.

Ben Morris, defending, said he “soon realised there was no running away from what he had done”.

He said: “What he did will haunt him and many others for the rest of their lives.”

Judge Denis Watson, QC, said the pair were “arrogant and confident” they could elude police and showed “complete disregard” for others.

He said: “I have absolutely no doubt both of you knew immediately there had been a catastrophic collision and two people, one of them a child, were at the very least gravely injured.

“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 yourselves, your escape and of avoiding responsibility for what happened.”

The judge said Mrs French’s future remained uncertain, adding: “Her face now looks very different to the face she had a little over eight weeks ago.”

He said McAteer’s sentence would have been 12 and a half years – 18 months short of the 14-year maximum – before a 25% reduction for his guilty plea.

He jailed Brennan for six years and eight months and handed him a driving ban of nine years and four months.

Source: liverpoolecho.co.uk

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