Man admits killing two-year-old girl in Coupar Angus by dangerous driving

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A man has admitted killing a two-year-old girl after his car mounted the pavement.

Harlow Edwards was walking along the pavement with two other children – aged six and 17 at the time – when two cars crashed on the road close to them in Coupar Angus, Perth and Kinross, on October 13 last year.

A Ford Focus driven by Luke Pirie mounted the pavement hitting all three, instantly killing Harlow and throwing the others over a roadside wall.

At the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday, 23-year-old Pirie pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

He had passed his driving test just a year before and was said to be “worked up” and angry as he left his work at Scone Airport in Perth to travel to his partner’s house in Montrose.

Advocate Depute Iain McSporran QC told the court Pirie was seen speeding through Coupar Angus and had used his mobile for calls, texts and a Facetime before the crash.

CCTV showed the Ford Focus speeding behind a line of traffic moments before the crash, prompting sighs from the Edwards family in court.

The cars in front had slowed as a Citroen signalled to turn right but Pirie pulled out and tried to overtake the traffic, colliding with the Citreon at around 50mph as it began to turn.

Mr McSporran said the accused lost control of his car which spun and mounted the pavement where the children were walking after getting off a bus from Dundee.

Harlow suffered “multiple severe injuries” while the 17-year-old suffered bleeding on the brain and a spinal fracture which left her in a wheel chair for three months.

The other child suffered a skull fracture and permanent scarring in the crash.

Defence lawyer Mark Stewart QC said his client “wrongly believed it was a stationary line of traffic” when he tried to overtake.

A victim impact statement from Harlow’s mother, Sara, was read to the court in which she said she had been “robbed of a lifetime of memories”.

Mrs Edwards said she cries herself to sleep every night and now expects bad news every time the phone rings.

Pirie was remanded in custody with the case adjourned to October 4 for sentencing.

Judge Lord Ericht told him: “Because of what you did Harlow will never return home.”

The court heard Pirie, who sat with his head bowed throughout the hearing, had earlier been agitated by phone calls with his partner while at work and set off to drive to her house.

Mr McSporran said the accused was “upset and angry” with her and messages were sent “of the view she was being unfaithful”.

Records showed he had used his mobile in the car but there was no evidence it was being used at the time of the crash.

At the scene of the collision, witnesses claimed the 23-year-old said it was not his fault, the Advocate Depute told the court.

His defence lawyer said Pirie’s recollection of the crash is “very limited” and the claim “does not in any way, shape or form represent his position”.

Mr Stewart said his client wrongly believed the traffic was stationary when he tried to overtake it.

He said: “This is not an excuse or defence but an explanation as to why he made the manoeuvre.”

The lawyer said Pirie accepted his responsibility and made no motion for bail.

The court heard the accused has previous convictions for violence and disorder and was on bail, serving a community payback order, when the crash occurred.

Lord Ericht disqualified Pirie from driving ahead of sentencing.

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