Family devastated after two-year-old girl killed by driver
Harlow Edwards was walking along the pavement holding hands with two other children - aged six and 17 at the time - when two cars crashed on the road close to them in Coupar Angus, Perth and Kinross, on October 13 last year.
A Ford Focus driven by Luke Pirie mounted the pavement hitting all three, instantly killing Harlow and throwing the others over a roadside wall.
Pirie pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at the High Court in Edinburgh last month.
Sentencing Pirie to six years in prison at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday, Lord Ericht said he had “shattered the life of a family” .
The 24-year-old was seen speeding through Coupar Angus and had used his mobile for calls, texts and Facetime before the crash, which happened when he was travelling at 50mph.
Lord Ericht said: “You have shattered the life of a family. For them nothing will ever be the same
“On 13 October 2016 you indulged in a prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of very bad driving.
“You sent and read images and text messages. You were engaged in activity on a mobile phone that required you to give attention to the device.”
He also banned Pirie from driving for seven years and ordered him to sit an extended test if he wants to drive again.
Speaking outside the court Harlow’s mother Sara said: “Justice has finally been done. We would like to thank everyone involved in making that happen.
“Although we are glad that a substantial sentence has been given we would like to say that this in no way matches the life sentence we are now living and the life that has been denied to our precious Harlow.
“We can only hope our baby girl’s beautiful face will serve as a reminder of the responsibility that comes with getting behind the wheel of a car and also the dangers of speeding and distraction to drivers, passengers and also the person on the other end of the phone who continues to communicate with someone they know is driving.
“As a family going forward we would now like to concentrate on honouring the absolute love and never-ending joy our darling baby girl brought into our lives through the charity Harlow’s Helping Hand.”
CCTV showed the Ford Focus speeding behind a line of traffic moments before the crash.
The cars in front had slowed as a Citroen signalled to turn right but Pirie pulled out and tried to overtake the traffic, colliding with the Citroen at around 50mph as it began to turn.
Pirie lost control of his car which spun and mounted the pavement where the children were walking after getting off a bus from Dundee.
Harlow suffered ‘’multiple severe injuries’’ while the 17-year-old suffered bleeding on the brain and a spinal fracture which left her in a wheelchair for three months. The other child suffered a skull fracture and permanent scarring in the crash.
Pirie had passed his driving test just a year before and was said to be ‘’worked up’’ and angry as he left his work at Scone Airport, near Perth, to travel to his partner’s house in Montrose on the day of the crash.
Defence lawyer Mark Stewart QC said his client believed the line of cars was stationary when he tried to overtake and he feels “severe regret” and remorse over the incident.
He said: “Mr Pirie accepts that his driving was impaired and he accepts that it was his decision to overtake what he genuinely believed to be a line of stationary cars that led to this terrible event.”
The court had heard that Pirie has previous convictions for violence and disorder and was on bail, serving a community payback order, when the crash occurred.