A judge told a driver that he killed a girl that his death could have been avoided if he hadn’t driven at “excessively serious speed”.
Jon-Paul Caruana was jailed after admitting that he had caused the death of eight-year-old Emily Esme Connor due to dangerous driving.
Judge David Stockdale QC told Caruana, 25, that he was “absolutely satisfied” that his remorse was genuine.
But he warned that Emily’s death was a “classic example” of the tragic consequences of a death caused by “driving too fast where pedestrians are located”.
Emily was traveling to see the Christmas lights with her grandmother at the Trafford Center when she was hit by the Vauxhall Corsa di Caruana on November 10, 2018.
The driver, who has no previous convictions, was driving at speeds of up to 50mph in the moments before the accident, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Police experts say he hit Emily while traveling at 47 miles per hour after honking, skidding, hitting a wall and turning her car over.
Today he was jailed for three years and four months and banished from the streets for four years and eight months.
Not long before the collision, Caruana had found a friend on her way to work.
His partner, who was a passenger in the car with their young son, sent a Whatsapp message to his friend stating: “He will break the speed barriers to be with you in a minute.”
Video not available
Emily’s family, who was present at the sentencing hearing, has since made a statement.
They said, “Our daughter’s family and friends, Emily, would like to take this opportunity to thank first of all everyone who has come forward to help the police with their investigations.
“We would particularly like to thank those who stayed with Emily on the scene. It gave us great comfort knowing that you were with her.
“Emily’s brothers and ourselves must somehow try to move forward without our beautiful girlfriend. We hope to live in a way Emily would have wanted us to do – with grace and compassion.”
Sentencing the defendant, Judge David Stockdale QC described Emily as a “healthy and happy eight-year-old girl.
“She was doing well in school and was loved by her parents and her two older brothers.
“It would have been described by his father as” the bridge between family members “.
“Her mother described Emily as” the glue that united the family “.
“On November 10, 2018, she went out with her grandmother Dorothy Simpson Wheeler. They had gone out to see the Christmas lights at the Trafford Center. It is difficult to conceive a more innocent reason why these two are around at that moment. “
Judge Stockdale said the couple briefly boarded a bus on the wrong side of the road and were crossing Monton Road to the correct stop when Caruana approached her Vauxhall Corsa.
Emily and Mrs. Wheeler had been left on Monton Road around 10.30am, the weather was fine and visibility was clear.
The CCTV footage reproduced in court showed that Caruana’s car darted along Monton Road at speeds of up to 50mph.
The judge said to Caruana: “I have watched the CCTV footage and you can see that the area is quite busy and there are pedestrians around.
“Until a few minutes before, nothing unpleasant was happening.
“Nobody could have predicted what would happen.
“Dorothy and Emily were crossing Monton Road to reach the correct bus stop on the right side of the road.
“Suddenly and without warning they were aware of you as you drove your Corsa in their direction at high speed.
“As it seems to me, instead of significantly reducing your speed, you honked the horn as a warning to them and turned left.
“But it seems you only blew your horn to scare Emily because she had held her grandmother’s hand, but apparently she let go trying to run the other way.
“Your car collided with her, hit a low wall and overturned hitting Emily for the second time.
“There is evidence that you were driving in a particular hurry to find a friend who was waiting for you.
“You had a photo sent to your friend who showed he was stuck in traffic. About seven minutes have passed since the accident.
“Your passenger sent a message that” break the speed barriers. “You were in a hurry, you were hindered and frustrated. But when the accident happened you took your friend. This cause had evaporated, so I don’t know why you were in a hurry , but you were driving at an excessively high speed.
“You were driving at around 50mph – this is a decidedly excessive speed.
“It was busy, there were pedestrians around, it was a residential area, the speed limit was 30 miles per hour.
“Because you had to drive at that speed, you don’t know.
“You were unable to significantly reduce your speed before the impact occurred. You honked and skidded but did not significantly reduce your speed.”
Judge Stockdale said that Caruana also did not react to pedestrians on the way ahead.
Even if Emily and Ms. Wheeler were not visible due to an oncoming bus, Caruana ignored the possibility of pedestrians on the road, she said.
“It is not simply a case of overspeeding. It is also a mistake on your part to react to the traffic conditions that await you.
“This was a piece of obvious dangerous driving. It caused the loss of a young life. It was rightly described as a tragic accident but it was an entirely avoidable accident. “
Caruana, of Lawndale Drive, Worsley, has pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Richard Littler QC, in defense, said that Caruana – who has no previous convictions – was devastated by the “tragic accident”.
Caruana, he said, was “severely distressed” at the collision scene and was sometimes inconsolable during the police interview.
He also returned to the crash scene on the first anniversary of Emily’s death to lay flowers.
“This is an incident that will remain with this defendant for the rest of his life,” said Littler.
“His boyfriend said it” will be a recurring nightmare for him every day. “
Judge Stockdale QC stated that Caruana is a young man of good character with no previous convictions.
He said: “It is not difficult for a defendant to apologize for what happened. You did it. I am absolutely satisfied that your remorse is absolutely sincere and sincerely felt.
“You expressed it by placing flowers on the accident scene. You are sincerely sorry and sorry for what happened.
“No sentence will compensate Emily’s family for their loss. There are no winners in a case like this, only losers.
“This is a classic example of a frightening case that follows from an overly fast driving attack where pedestrians are around.”
Speaking after the sentencing, police sergeant Lee Westhead, of the Greater Manchester police serious collision investigation unit, said: “The patience and dignity shown by Emily’s family during this investigation were inspiring. This it was a long and complex investigation into an extended period of dangerous driving at a distance.
“In the end, faced with the overwhelming evidence gathered against him, Caruana had to abandon her lies and face the enormity of what she had done, all because she was a few minutes late.
“He treated the other road users with contempt and his flagrant disregard for the rules of the road caused an unimaginable tragedy.
“I hope Emily’s family is comforted by today’s condemnation and I send them my sincere condolences and best wishes for the future as they continue to rebuild their lives.
“Drivers must take today’s case into account; nothing was worth the loss of the life of a wonderful child. We share our roads with vulnerable road users, treating each other with respect.”