Parents of a four-year-old girl killed in a hit and run have said new legislation to punish killer drivers with life sentences is their ‘daughter’s legacy’.
Violet-Grace Youens was just four when she was killed by Aidan McAteer who hit 83mph in a 30mph zone, then stepped over her body to flee the scene in Merseyside in March 2017.
McAteer was jailed for nine years and four months and his passenger Dean Brennan, who aided him in fleeing the country, was handed a sentence of six years and eight months.
In March a petition demanding a life sentence for those who cause death by dangerous driving hit 100,000 signatures on the anniversary of Violet-Grace’s death.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has now announced ‘Violet-Grace’s law’ meaning killer drivers will be punished with life sentences under new legislation next year.
Violet-Grace’s father, Glenn, 33, told the Daily Mail the legislation was his daughter’s ‘legacy’.
He said: “The system is supposed to be on the side of victims, not criminals, now hopefully this new law will help families feel like they have justice.
“It won’t make a difference to us, but Violet saved two lives through organ donation and now maybe countless more will be saved if a life sentence acts as a deterrent to anyone thinking of getting behind the wheel and driving recklessly or under the influence of drink.
“Violet has done more in her four years and five months than most people achieve in a lifetime, that will be her legacy.”
Violet’s mum Rebecca added that their lives had been ruined and spoke about how they will never be the same again after their daughter’s tragic death.
She said Violet was their world and they are glad to see the changes to legislation so that no family feels the same pain and injustice they have felt.
Under the new legislation, judges will be able to give motorists convicted of causing death by dangerous driving the toughest punishment in UK law.
This includes motorists who take a life while speeding, racing or using their mobile phones.
Life sentences will also be introduced for causing death by careless driving while drunk or on drugs.
Previously, killer drivers could only be sentenced to a maximum of 14 years in prison.
Aidan McAteer, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving, was jailed for nine years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court.