Glasgow & West Scotland

Christopher Hannah jailed for Sophie Brannan 'hit-and-run' killing

Sophie Brannan and scene Image copyright other
Image caption Sophie Brannan, 11, died in hospital after being hit by the car on Sandbank Street

A man who admitted killing an 11-year-old girl in a hit-and-run has been jailed for 12 years and three months.

Christopher Hannah, 33, was driving a car which mounted the pavement and struck Sophie Brannan in Glasgow's Maryhill area on 14 November last year.

Her 10-year-old friend and 36-year-old Joseph Lloyd were also badly injured during the incident.

Hannah, who is said to be a heroin addict, previously admitted a charge of culpable homicide.

During a previous hearing at the High Court in Glasgow, he also admitted dangerous driving, attempting to defeat the ends of justice and possessing heroin.

It emerged he already had 14 previous convictions for crimes, including having an offensive weapon and road traffic charges.

Taken heroin

He was on bail at the time of the hit-and-run killing, having been freed from Glasgow's Justice of the Peace Court two months before the incident.

The court heard that on the day of the crash, Hannah's partner suspected he had taken heroin.

He was driving a Vauxhall Astra, that had been hired in his name on 14 October, in the Maryhill area, when he lost control in Sandbank Street at about 19:40 on 14 November.

The car fully mounted the pavement before hitting the gable end of a nearby building.

Image caption Police at the scene following the incident

It continued to career forward, eventually ploughing into Sophie, and the two people with her, from behind.

It then sped onto nearby Maryhill Road and crashed into a taxi whose driver decided to follow Hannah.

He eventually stopped a short distance away and was seen trying to pull the damaged front bumper before running off.

The court heard that both the taxi driver and his passengers noticed Hannah "was under the influence of some substance".

Medics who arrived at the scene found Sophie lying on the pavement.

Victims injuries

She was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill where she was found to have swelling to her brain, several fractures and broken bones.

The schoolgirl remained in intensive care overnight but was pronounced dead on the morning of 15 November.

The other girl involved in the cvrash suffered a serious leg break which will require long-term physiotherapy.

The court was told she continues to suffers episodes of withdrawal and angry outbursts.

Mr Lloyd also suffered a number of fractures, but was initially released from hospital two days later.

However, he eventually required surgery and it is likely he will have "long-term restriction" of movement in his right shoulder.

The court also heard that shortly after the incident, police searched the home of Hannah's partner, where he had been staying.

Tin foil wraps with signs of drug use were discovered.

His partner revealed Hannah had come home earlier that night "in shock".

Hannah had claimed he had hit someone, but did not know who.

The killer said he was going to a house in the city's south side, but would return.

'Total accident'

Police were at the house when Hannah then called his girlfriend. She handed the phone to an officer and Hannah said: "I'm sorry - I didn't mean to do it.

"It was a total accident. I lost control of the car and I panicked. I'm going to hand myself in tonight."

The court heard that in the early hours of 17 November, Hannah turned up at a house in the city's Mount Florida area, but those inside decided to call police.

Officers turned up and arrested Hannah, who initially tried to escape. He was later searched and eight grams of heroin were discovered inside his boxer shorts.

The court heard how the occupants of the Mount Florida property later told police Hannah had called them on the night of the killing.

Hannah said at the time: "There's been an accident - watch the news. The police have fitted me up.

"I tried to get away and I have hit something. I don't know what."

He went on to say he had driven like a madman and that the something he had hit could have been a wheelie bin but he did not stay to find out.

Hannah asked to stay for a while as the police were after him "because he had killed a wee lassie".

Accident investigators later concluded Hannah was solely to blame for what happened.

It was stated he took "a conscious decision" to drive while "impaired".

They added that the reason for him not stopping was because he knew he had taken drugs and was "aware of the ramifications".

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