Girl of two killed by car driver send­ing an­gry texts to part­ner

Scottish Daily Mail - - Weekender - By James Mul­hol­land

‘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

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