Mum of tot killed in hit and run demands life in jail for car thieves who kill

The parents of a girl of four who died in a hit and run are demanding life sentences for drivers who kill.

Violet-Grace Youens was left for dead by Aidan McAteer, who was doing 83mph in a 30mph zone in a stolen Ford Fiesta in March 2017.

Her gran Angela French, 57, also suffered life-changing injuries in the horror crash.

McAteer, 25, fled to Amsterdam but was later arrested. He was jailed for nine years, four months and will serve just half his sentence behind bars.

Violet-Grace’s family are urging the Government to introduce life sentences with a minimum 15 years for anyone guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

A petition they have launched has attracted over 15,600 signatures so far.

Mum Rebecca, 31, said: “When Violet was killed, that car was a weapon.

“If they’d used something else and killed my mum and Violet, they would have been done for murder. What happened didn’t need to happen, it shouldn’t have happened.

“Driving dangerously, recklessly, aggressively, all that and the car being stolen, they were going to hurt or kill someone but it was Violet and her nan.”

Dad Glenn, also 31, of Eccleston, St Helens in Merseyside, added: “He [McAteer] pleaded guilty and got 30% off [his sentence]. He’s going to serve less time in prison than Violet was alive. It’s a joke.”

McAteer admitted causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving. Passenger Dean Brennan, 29, got six years eight months after admitting aggravated vehicle taking and assisting an offender.

Both will spend half their terms in prison and the rest on licence.

The current maximum term for death by dangerous driving is 14 years. Causing death by careless driving is a maximum of five.

Rebecca added: “The punishment doesn’t fit the crime, legislation needs to change. It should be life in prison.”

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