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Poppy Clarke: OAP driver jailed for four years over toddler road death

John Place has been jailed for four years

An OAP has been jailed for four years after being found guilty of causing the death of a three-year-old girl who he hit with his car as she crossed the road.

John Place,72, was sentenced on Monday after admitting causing the death of toddler Poppy-Arabella Clarke by dangerous driving.

Poppy Clarke was crossing the road with her mother when she was struck down by Mr Place's car Credit: Slater and Gordon Solicitors

Poppy-Arabella and her mother had been walking across a pelican crossing on Chester Road, Sutton Coldfield, together in July last year when they were struck by Place's vehicle.

Place, who was not wearing his glasses even though he needed them, only stopped when flagged down by another driver.

Following the sentencing Poppy-Arabella's parents Phil and Rachel released a statement saying that Mr Place's "selfish behaviour" had left them facing their own "life sentence without our little girl".

On July 6th, 2016, a beautiful summer day, little Poppy-Arabella, after a lovely morning playing with mummy, was excited to be heading to nursery to see her friends. Poppy-Arabella and I never got to nursery. Mr John Place smashed into both herself and her mummy whilst we were in the middle of a pedestrian crossing, with lights having been on red for many seconds.

He did not swerve, he did not break and he did not stop. He was only brought to a stop by a quick thinking motorist who pulled into his path. Mr Place had been told three weeks before the collision to stop driving by two optometrists after falling far below the required eye sight standards set by the DVLA, even when he was wearing glasses.

While Mr Place was today given a four year custodial jail sentence we have been left with a life sentence without our little girl whose entire life was stolen from her in a fraction of a second. We will miss her forever, we will love her for always. All drivers, you have a personal responsibility to heed medical advice, to ensure you are fit to get behind the wheel. Likewise, close family members have a duty of care to intervene before it is too late.

– Poppy's parents

The lawyer for Poppy-Arabella's family have now issued a call to introduce a new law to prevent the possibility of a similar thing happening again.

The family's lawyer, Richard Langton, of Slater and Gordon, said: "A lasting legacy would be Poppy-Arabella's law, requiring any medical professional aware of a person's inability to drive safely to report them to the DVLA so that their licence is withdrawn."