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Nine years jail for hit-and-run driver who killed four-year-old Violet-Grace

Violet-Grace was struck by a car while walking with her grandmother in St Helens, on March 24. Credit: Merseyside Police.

A speeding driver been jailed after a hit-and-run crash which killed a four-year-old girl in Merseyside

Violet-Grace Youens was struck while walking with her grandmother in St Helens, on March 24.

Aidan McAteer, 23, admitted causing her death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury to her grandmother, 55-year-old Angela French.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the stolen Ford Fiesta, which had cloned number plates, began travelling at speeds of about 80mph in the busy 30mph area after passing a police car on a roundabout - although officers were not in pursuit.

The car had been through two red lights before it lost control on Prescot Road and hit a kerb before colliding with Mrs French, who was crossing the road with her granddaughter in her arms.

The vehicle then hit a lamppost and the defendants, both from Prescot, got out of the driver's side door, running past the injured youngster to make their escape.

In the days after the crash, McAteer fled the country and was eventually arrested at Manchester Airport after his mother appeal to him to return.

Dean Brennan, 27, who admitted obtaining McAteer's passport and supplying it to him, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and assisting an offender and was jailed for six years and eight months.

Aidan McAteer. Credit: Merseyside Police.

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

In victim impact statements read out at Liverpool Crown Court, mother Rebecca said: "We should be shopping for her school uniform, not a headstone.

"This is so wrong and heartbreaking."

The youngster's father Glenn said in his statement: "They didn't even stop to help.

"The driver got out and stepped over my little baby girl."

Speaking outside court, Mrs Youens said: "No sentence passed is ever going to bring Violet back and we are absolutely devastated."

She paid tribute to her "funny, vibrant and caring" daughter.

"You do everything to try and protect your child, looking out for meningitis, childhood cancer, and then it's taken away in an instant by two inconsiderate criminals who didn't care for anybody that day apart from themselves."

She said Violet-Grace had gone on to save two lives through organ donation.

"She is an inspiration to everyone."

Violet-Grace with her parents. Credit: Merseyside Police.