Girl of two killed by car driver sending angry texts to partner
‘She cries herself to sleep’
A MOTORIST who knocked down and killed a toddler and injured two other children when his car mounted the pavement had been sending ‘angry’ texts to his partner.
Two-year-old Harlow Edwards died after being hit by Luke Pirie’s Ford Focus at 50mph as she walked home with the other children, aged six and 17.
Her mother Sara, 37, still cries herself to sleep at night as she struggles to cope, the High Court in Edinburgh heard yesterday.
The court was told how Pirie, 23, was in a ‘hurry’ and had been using his phone just before the tragedy in Coupar Angus, Perthshire, on October 13 last year.
He had left his work at Scone Airport early in a bad mood and had spent the morning calling and texting his partner Heather Eaton.
He suspected her of being unfaithful and was en route to confront her when the accident happened.
Advocate depute Iain McSporran, QC, said Pirie was breaking the 30mph limit when he was seen overtaking cars in Balbeggie, Perthshire. He made the call to Miss Eaton before reaching a junction, where he pulled out from behind three cars and hit a Citroen that was turning right.
Pirie then lost control of his car, which rebounded off a wall near where the children were walking, hitting the toddler and sending the other two children flying over the wall. Harlow sustained serious injuries and doctors believe her death was ‘inevitable and rapid’.
On Friday, Mr McSporran told the court how Harlow’s mother could not cope with the loss of her daughter. He said: ‘She has difficulty sleeping. She constantly thinks about not being with Harlow when she lost her life.
‘She cries herself to sleep in the evening. She feels robbed of a lifetime of memories.’
Pirie, of Forfar, pleaded guilty to causing death and injury by dangerous driving. Mr McSporran said Pirie had appeared ‘worked up’ as he spoke on his phone. He added: ‘Text messages were also exchanged between the couple – the vast majority sent by him. At 14.46 he texted “I’m coming home” followed by “Cheat” and “You’ve obviously done something stupid that you’re afraid to talk to me”.
‘She sent two messages at 15.12 in strong terms telling him to “get a grip” of himself.
Within four seconds of reading them, he sent her a message stating “I’ve crashed one Heather”, followed five seconds later with “Heather I’ve been in a crash”.’
The court heard Pirie has previous convictions for violence and disorder and was on bail at the time, serving a community payback order.
Harlow suffered ‘multiple severe injuries’, while the 17-year-old suffered bleeding on the brain and a spinal fracture that left her in a wheelchair for three months.
The other child suffered a skull fracture and permanent scarring.
Mr McSporran said Pirie initially denied he had been overtaking and said that the children ‘had stepped out in front of me’.
Defence advocate Mark Stewart, QC, said Pirie, who had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression, accepted his responsibility and would not seek bail. Sentence was adjourned for reports.
Harlow’s grandfather William Tracey, 62, of Dundee, said: ‘He will finish his sentence and walk away. It is a life sentence for us. There is a sadness over the family that will never go away.’
Victim: Harlow Edwards died soon after being hit by Pirie’s car
Angry: Luke Pirie was in a hurry