A grandmother and “pillar of the community” was killed when a 12-year-old boy she was fostering stole her car and ran over her outside her home.
Marcia Grant, 60, suffered catastrophic injuries outside her home in the Greenhill area of Sheffield on 5 April, 2023.
The youngster, who is now 13 and cannot be named, previously pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. A charge of murder was dropped by prosecutors when they accepted the plea.
He previously admitted a second charge of possession of bladed article, which was specified as a kitchen knife.
Sheffield Crown Court heard the boy had never driven before and struggled to control the Honda Civic when he reversed into Mrs Grant, knocking her over and driving over her - despite the frantic attempts of her husband, Delroy, to stop him.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence he had intended to harm Mrs Grant and that his intention was just to drive away.
The court heard Mrs Grant had been a foster carer since 2016 and the defendant had been staying with her for several days at the time of her death.
Prosecutor Mark McKone KC said the boy “claimed to have been a gangster since aged nine” and had a number of disagreements with Mrs Grant’s husband Delroy, including one about him watching “inappropriate television”.
The court heard that on the night of Mrs Grant’s death the boy took car keys and a knife from the kitchen, crept out to the car and tried to drive it away.
Mr Grant told police his wife shouted: “Someone’s taking the car,” but believed she did not realise it was the defendant at first.
Mrs Grant ran out to try to stop the thief and went to the back of the car before the defendant reversed the vehicle, knocking her over.
The court heard that when Mr Grant went to the back of the car he saw his wife on her back with her feet under the vehicle and “pleaded” with the boy to stop driving.
He smashed the car window and the boy got out and fled the scene, saying “sorry, sorry,” Mr McKone said.
When he was arrested after trying to run away from police, he told a policewoman: “I’m going to f****** kill your family you bitch and I don’t give a f***.”
The boy asked officers: “Is she dead?” before saying: “It was an accident, I swear,” five minutes later.
In a prepared statement to police, the defendant said he was taking the car so that he could drive to see his mother.
He said: “I had a good relationship with Marcia and Delroy, however I always missed being with my family and wished to be with them.
“When I returned to Marcia’s home having left I decided I needed to be with my mother.
“I was worried if I travelled alone I could be attacked so I took a knife from the kitchen for my own protection.
“I remember starting the engine, putting the gear into reverse. I have never driven a car before and so struggled to do so.
“I remember seeing Marcia rush out then Delroy after. Delroy was on my right side shouting and hitting the car window.
“I was in a state of panic, I didn’t know Marcia was behind the car. I never intended to hit her or cause her any harm. I’m very sorry for what has happened.”
Mrs Grant’s daughter, Gemma Grant, said her mother “wanted to pull the world into a hug, lend a hand and raise the spirits of anyone facing adversity”.
Reading her victim impact statement to the court, Ms Grant said: “It floors me that the boy that killed her was greeted by a massive hug, given lots of assurance and her trademark warmth.
“We will never forgive him and will carry this trauma with us always.”
Mrs Grant’s son Shaun Grant said she was “killed by someone whom she had taken into her home not once, but twice”.
He told the court: “I have had my best friend ripped away from me with no chance to say goodbye. With no chance to tell her how amazing she was as a mum, wife and foster carer.”
Richard Wright KC, mitigating, said the boy had had “an extremely challenging childhood” and was “thriving” in youth detention.
The judge, Mrs Justice May, told the boy: "You made a bad choice. You knew that taking her car was wrong. You knew that taking her kitchen knife was wrong.
"The offence you committed was serious but it was not murder. The prosecution have accepted that you did not mean to harm Mrs Grant."
The judge said it was a "very bad accident".
The judge described how Mrs Grant was a committed foster carer who she said was the "shining lodestar" of her family.
Her family described her as "a warm, loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend and a pillar of her community".
Mrs Justice May told the boy: "Since then you have said many times that you are sorry for what happened to her and I believe that you are.
"Marcia Grant's family are heartbroken and angry, of course they are, that's natural. Her son and daughter have lost their mum. Delroy Grant has lost his wife.
"She was everything to them. No sentence which I give you can bring her back or lessen their sadness."
The teenager was handed a two-year custodial sentence in a youth offending institution.
He has also been disqualified from driving for six years and is required to take an extended driving test at the end of the disqualification.
SIO Det Ch Insp Andrea Bowell said: "Although the criminal justice process has concluded today, I am aware that this brings no resolution or closure for Marcia’s family.
"They will continue to grieve their tremendous loss, and will do so for the rest of their lives.
"Losing someone so dearly loved at the hands of another is unbearable."
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