Harlow Edwards death driver jailed: Toddler’s parents say family received life sentence

© DC Thomson
Harlow's parents leading mourners into her funeral last year. They say the family have been left with a life sentence.

A Perthshire mum said a speeding driver who knocked down and killed her daughter has left her family living a life sentence.

Motorist Luke Pirie wept on Wednesday as he was jailed for six years, after admitting driving dangerously through Coupar Angus, mounting a pavement and hitting Harlow Edwards, her older sister Dionne and a six-year-old boy.

Two-year-old Harlow died at the scene.

Prosecutors said Forfar man Pirie, 23, was travelling at 50mph through the 30mph zone when he attempted to overtake a line of cars.

He collided with another vehicle, spun out of control and ploughed into the children.

The court heard Pirie was in an angry mood and had been using his phone while driving to video call his partner Heather Eaton, who he suspected was cheating on him.

The accident happened during the October holidays last year on the A94 Forfar Road on the outskirts of the town.

Jailing Pirie, Lord Ericht said: “You have shattered the life of a family. For them, nothing will ever be the same.”

© Supplied
Harlow Edwards.

He told Pirie: “You indulged in a prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of very bad driving.

“You were engaged in activity on a mobile phone that required you to give attention to the device and hold it in your hand.”

Speaking on the steps of the High Court in Glasgow, Harlow’s mother Sara Edwards said: “Over the last year, we as a family have had to live through something that no family should.

Luke Pirie.

“Today, we are relieved that justice has finally been done for our three children who were affected that terrible day, and we would like to thank everyone involved in making that happen.

“Although we are glad that a substantial sentence has been given, we want to say that this in no way matches the life sentence we are now living and the life that has been denied to our precious Harlow.”

Breaking down in tears, Mrs Edwards continued: “We can only hope now that our baby girl’s beautiful face will serve as a reminder of the responsibility that comes when getting behind the wheel of a car, and also the dangers of speeding and distractions to drivers, passengers and also the person on the other end of the phone who continues to communicate with someone they know is driving.”

She said: “As a family going forward, we want to concentrate on honouring the absolute love and never-ending joy our darling baby girl brought into our lives through the charity Harlow’s Helping Hand.”

The charity, which has a shop in Coupar Angus, supports bereaved parents who have lost a young child by providing help towards funeral and headstone costs.

Pirie, who was told he would have been jailed for nine years if his case had gone to trial, was also disqualified from driving for seven years.

Harlow suffered “multiple severe injuries”, while her sister Dionne, now 18, suffered bleeding on the brain and a spinal fracture that left her in a wheelchair for three months.

The other child, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered a skull fracture and permanent scarring in the crash.

David Green, head of the Crown Office’s Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, said: “This is a tragic case involving the needless death of a two year-old girl and the serious injury of two other children.

“Luke Pirie’s dangerous driving and excessive speed has irrevocably damaged many lives and our thoughts go out to the family of Harlow Edwards.”

He added: “Hopefully this will serve as a reminder of the very serious consequences of dangerous driving and the deep harm that it can cause.”