Parents' victim impact statement edited to not upset the driver who killed their child

Violet-Grace Youens was killed by a speeding driver in 2017.
Violet-Grace Youens was killed by a speeding driver in 2017. Photo credit: Merseyside Police

The parents of a four-year-old girl who was killed by a dangerous driver in England had their victim impact statement edited so it wouldn't distress the driver during his sentencing, an MP said.

Violet-Grace Youens was with her grandmother when Aidan McAteer, 23, crashed a stolen vehicle into the pavement in March 2017. He was driving 83mph (134km/h) in a 30mph (50km/h) zone. 

Violet-Grace died in hospital from her injuries. Her grandmother survived but still suffers from the severity of her injuries.

It has been revealed that McAteer reportedly won the right to have parts of Glenn and Rebecca Youens' victim impact statement edited during his sentencing, The Guardian reports.

Marie Rimmer, a British Labour MP, reportedly said during a debate in Westminster Hall that McAteer's lawyer objected to the family's original victim statement, saying his client would find it "too upsetting".

"The judge accepted this," Rimmer said.

Glenn and Rebecca Youens were then given a copy of their impact statement. The parts they could not read aloud in open court had been highlighted.

MP Rimmer is now campaigning for a legislation amendment to make it mandatory for impact statements to be read in full in open court.

"The whole purpose of the victim impact statement is the impact on the victims and the survivors, not the defendant," she told British media.

UK Parliament debated Violet-Grace's law on Monday after her parents launched a petition for life sentences to be given to those guilty of death by dangerous. The petition, started earlier this year, has obtained almost 166,000 signatures.

McAteer was jailed in May 2017 after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, The Guardian reports. He was sentenced to nine years and four months in prison after fleeing the scene of the crash.

His passenger, 27-year-old Dean Brennan, also fled the scene and was jailed for six years and eight months.

The "incredibly short sentences", Glenn Younes told The Guardian, were the first blow before their original impact statement was redacted.

"In October 2017, the Government promised life sentences for death by dangerous driving. It's now 2019. Innocent people have been killed, but nothing has changed. The law is out of date," says the petition.

"Anyone convicted of death by dangerous driving should receive life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 15 years.

"They will serve less time in prison than Violet was alive."


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