A speeding driver who mowed down and killed an eight-year-old girl as she crossed the road with her grandmother has been jailed for three years.
Jon-Paul Caruana, 25, was said to have put his foot down after getting ‘frustrated’ by slow-moving traffic through residential Salford, with CCTV showing his silver Vauxhall Corsa racing past another motorist on the wrong side of the road.
He was travelling at 47mph when he ploughed into little Emily Connor in November 2018. She and her grandmother had been on their way to see the Trafford Centre’s Christmas lights when they crossed over to catch a bus.
Manchester Crown Court heard Caruana beeped his horn and swerved to try and avoid the schoolgirl, but the startled youngster took the full force of the impact after letting go of her gran’s hand and making a dash for the pavement. She died at the scene.
Father-of-one Caruana was jailed for three years and four months after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Judge David Stockdale QC said: ‘This is a classic example of an appalling case that follows from a bout of driving at grossly excessive speed where pedestrians are about.’
Prosecutor Gavin Howie described how Emily and her grandmother Dorothy Simpson Wheeler had been dropped off on Monton Road by a family friend on 10 November 2018.
Holding hands, the two of them began crossing as Caruana sped towards them with his partner, four-month-old son and a friend in tow.
Mr Howie said the impact ‘thrust’ Emily into the air. The Corsa smashed into a wall, rolled over and hit the youngster a second time.
After climbing out of the car Caruana could be heard screaming: ‘I’ve killed a kid.’
Paramedics rushed to the scene and battled to save Emily but she sadly died at the scene.
The court heard Caruana had been ‘distracted and in a rush’ to collect a friend on his way to work that morning.
Judge Stockdale said he’d been ‘frustrated’ by the time the accident occurred, but added that he didn’t know why Caruana was still speeding once he’d picked up his friend and ‘that cause to be in a hurry had evaporated’.
He told Caruana: ‘It seems to me instead of reducing your speed significantly you sounded your horn as a warning and you swerved to your left.
‘However, that only served to startle Emily. She had been holding her grandmother’s hand but she let go apparently attempting to run to the far side of the road and your car collided with her.’
In a statement Emily’s dad Danny Connor, who has two sons aged 16 and 13, said he had always wanted a daughter and recalled the ‘wonderful time when they had her’.
He said: ‘At the time of Emily’s death she was doing well at school and her inclusive nature fulfilled a crucial role within the family. She was a bridge between the family members because of her engaging personality.
‘She was a popular girl with many friends on the estate. She enjoyed singing and dancing and even when illness in the family was present she was always a shining light.
‘Knowing the boys need me is the only thing that keeps me going. There is always a little darkness in the background when they recall Emily is no longer with them.’
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