The grieving father of a four-year-old who was killed by the driver of a stolen car has slammed the criminal justice system for ‘letting his daughter down’.
Violet-Grace Youens’s parents are not allowed to read out their full victim impact statement, including details of her horrific injuries, in court in case their daughter’s killer is upset by it.
The four-year-old was knocked down by a black Ford car as she walked home with her grandmother in St Helens, Merseyside, in March 2017.
Driver Aidan McAteer and his passenger, Dean Brennan, 27, then ignored her body while fleeing the scene before leaving the country.
McAteer, then 23, pleaded guilty to causing Violet-Grace’s death by dangerous driving and was jailed for nine years and four months but could be eligible for early release.
Violet-Grace’s father, Glenn Youens, spoke out after a Merseyside MP said that his daughter’s killer won the right to have parts of her parents’ victim impact statement changed to spare his feelings at sentencing.
While tending his daughter’s grave Mr Youens said: ‘We were not allowed to show our emotions in court or to read the statement in full because it would be too upsetting for him to hear it. Violet-Grace was only four-and-a-half years old when she was killed.
‘A lot of people don’t realise the victim’s family is not being put first. It’s as if we’re the ones who have done something wrong.’
‘We wanted McAteer to know from us what he did to Violet-Grace, but we weren’t allowed to because it wasn’t fair on him.
‘No-one I know feels justice has been served or that he’s had anything like enough time in prison.
‘I’m having to clean my daughter’s headstone while he’s counting the days till he gets home.’
On the day of the crash McAteer drove the stolen Fiesta ST3, which had cloned number plates, at 80mph in a 30mph area of St Helens.
He went through two red lights before spinning out of control and hitting 55-year-old Angela French, who was carrying her granddaughter.
The car hit a lamppost and the defendants got out of the driver’s door and ran past Violet-Grace’s body to make their escape.