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Hit-and-run driver jailed for seven years and four months for causing death of 10-year-old Melissa Tate

Melissa Tate, 10, was killed in the hit and run Credit: Family Photo

A man who admitted killing a 10-year-old girl in a hit-and-run crash has been jailed for seven years and four months.

Connor Marsden ploughed into Melissa Tate on a road in Newcastle in September.

Connor Marsden has admitted to causing death by dangerous driving Credit: Northumbria Police

She died in hospital from her injuries.

Marsden, 24, of Kenton, in the city, had previously pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving, causing death while uninsured, and causing death by driving without a licence.

Marsden has also admitted summary charges of failure to stop, failure to report an accident to the police, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance.

Melissa's parents, Michael Tate and Kimberley Wilson, had earlier paid tribute to their daughter, saying she had "a heart of gold".

They also revealed that Melissa had gone on to save the lives of other children after the family made the difficult decision to donate her organs.

In a statement released following her death, Melissa's family said:

Melissa was a beautiful, smart, funny, cheeky and laid-back girl who had a heart of gold and not a bad bone in her body.

She could brighten up anyone’s day and all she ever wanted to do is help people.

Even after passing she still went on to help others by donating her organs.

She is a hero and always put others first.

I counted on Melissa a lot to get me through some sad and dark times and she was my little rock.

She loved doing silly dances, fun fighting and making silly noises with me. She was always pulling faces or telling everyone an embarrassing story that always made her laugh.

She was my little chill buddy. Me, her and Lili all on the bed with YouTube on laughing and joking with snacks.

And she loved being creative on Minecraft and playing Fortnite.

I will never have these moments with Melissa again but I will always have these memories and they can’t be taken away from me.

Melissa I love you to the moon and back. I will always love you.

Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Sweet dreams.

I love you.

– Melissa's Family
Melissa with her sister, Lili Credit: Family Photo

Melissa was a volunteer with Northumbria Police.

Her Mini Police number was retired in tribute to her.

Sergeant Nicola MacGregor said: "As a member of our extended police family, we will continue to help both her family and the school in any way we can.

"We hope that we can continue the excellent community work started by the Mini Police in her memory."

Melissa Tate in her Mini Police uniform Credit: Northumbria Police

Melissa's parents have previously spoken of their pride at Melissa joining the Mini Police.

Mum Kim said: "Melissa was so excited to be part of the Mini Police and I was so proud that I saw her in her uniform.

"She was a really kind girl who just wanted to help people so it didn't surprise me she wanted to be part of it."