News: Grieving parents had to change their victim impact statement to spare killer’s feelings

News: Grieving parents had to change their victim impact statement to spare killer’s feelings

Another Lincolnshire Highlights news story…

A dad who lost his four-year-old daughter has slammed the criminal justice system which he said had let her down.

Glenn Youens’ daughter Violet-Grace Youens and her nan Angela French were run over by Aidan McAteer in St Helens, Merseyside, in March 2017.

The little girl died and her nan suffered life changing injuries.

Mr Youens was speaking after a Merseyside MP said that McAteer won the right to have parts of Violet-Grace’s parents’ victim impact statement changed to spare his feelings at his sentencing, Liverpool Echo report.

Mr Youens spoke to the Echo while tending his daughter’s grave.

Violet-Grace Youens
(Image: Merseyside Police/PA Wire)

He 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.

“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.”

McAteer fled the country after knocking down Violet-Grace, but was arrested on his return and pleaded guilty at his trial – meaning his sentence was reduced by 25%.

Mr Youens said: “I’d rather it had gone to trial if it meant he’d get so much as another day in prison.

“What kind of society have we become that we accept this as normal?”

Aidan McAteer
(Image: Merseyside Police/PA Wire)

Mr Youens revealed the sections of statement the family were unable to read out concerned graphic descriptions of the horrific injuries Violet-Grace suffered, of her last moments before her death, and how she looked before she was buried, which took place four weeks after her death.

He added: “McAteer should have had to hear that.”

Cowardly McAteer, who had been driving at over 80mph, ignored Violet-Grace’s body as he fled the scene following the hit-and-run.

Violet-Grace Youens
(Image: Merseyside Police/PA Wire)

McAteer, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving, was jailed for nine years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court.

His passenger Dean Brennan, who helped him to flee 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.

On Monday, MPs gathered in Parliament to debate the introduction of ‘Violet-Grace’s Law’, which would open up the possibility of life sentences for those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

Marie Rimmer, the MP for St Helens South and Whiston, told the debate that McAteer’s barrister successfully objected to the parents’ full statement.

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She said: “The judge accepted this and the CPS barrister gave the parents a copy of their impact statement with parts they could not read out in open court highlighted.

“The whole purpose of the victim impact statement is the impact on the victims and the survivors, not the defendant.

“Guidance should be given to the judiciary that the overriding consideration is for the victim and their family, not whether the impact statement may upset the defendant.”



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