MPs to debate petition for Violet-Grace's Law to impose life sentences for death by dangerous driving

Violet-Grace Youens
Violet-Grace Youens

A petition launched by the family of a young girl killed in a shocking hit-and-run incident which would impose life sentences for death by dangerous driving will be considered by MPs.

Parliament will debate Violet-Grace's Law, named after four-year-old St Helens youngster Violet-Grace Youens who lost her life in March 2017, on Monday.

Related: Violet-Grace Youens' parents tell their heartbreaking story at speed awareness course

The petition started by her parents Glenn and Rebecca Youens has more than 164,000 signatures.

The motorist who ploughed into Violet-Grace and killed her, also causing serious injuries to the youngster's grandma in the incident, was later convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

However, Glenn and Rebecca said ministers have failed to implement promises to impose tougher sentences in such cases and it is time parliament acted.

In their petition they stated: “The men who killed our daughter drove a stolen a car at 83 mph in a 30 mph zone. They killed our four-year-old daughter Violet-Grace and severely injured her nan, who has life-changing injuries.

"They will serve less time in prison than Violet was alive. I don’t want other families to suffer like this.”

Ahead of the debate they added: “In October 2017, the Government promised life sentences for death by dangerous driving. It’s now 2019. Innocent people have been killed, but nothing has changed. The law is out of date.

“Anyone convicted of death by dangerous driving should receive life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 15 years. If more than one person is killed or injured, the sentences must run separately.”

The petition has strong local support, with more than 2,000 people signing it in Yvonne Fovargue MP's Makerfield constituency.

The most signatures came from St Helens South and Whiston, where 11,019 people backed it, while 8,278 residents in St Helens North have given their support.

In response to the petition, the Government said: “Driving offences can have devastating consequences for victims and their loved ones. Sentencing in individual cases is always a matter for the courts, which are independent.

“This was a deeply tragic case and our sympathies remain with Violet-Grace’s family. No sentence can make up for the loss of a loved one but we are focused on getting the law right, to ensure the changes we make are comprehensive, proportionate and, we hope, might help avoid some further unnecessary deaths on our roads.”

Monday’s debate will provide an opportunity for MPs to question a Government minister directly on this topic.

A number of bereaved families are expected to attend proceedings in London.