Tayside and Central Scotland

Driver jailed over death of Harlow Edwards in death crash

Harlow Edwards Image copyright Supplied

A driver who was texting on his phone moments before he killed a two-year-old girl has been jailed for six years.

Luke Pirie, 24, lost control of his Ford Focus in Coupar Angus, mounted a pavement at 50mph and killed Harlow Edwards last October.

A six-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl were also injured in the crash.

Outside the High Court in Glasgow Harlow's mother Sara said she hoped her "baby's girl's beautiful face" would remind motorists not to text and drive.

In an emotional statement to the media, she added: "Although we are glad that a substantial sentence has been given we would like to say that this in no way matches the life sentence that we are now living as we forever grieve the life denied to our precious Harlow.

"Finding out that we lost our little girl under such petty and entirely avoidable circumstances has only added to our devastation.

"We can only hope now that our baby girl's beautiful face will serve as a reminder of the responsibility that comes with getting behind the wheel of a car and also the dangers of speeding and distractions to the drivers, passengers and also the person on the other end of the phone who continues to communicate with someone they know is driving."

Image copyright Graeme Hart
Image caption Luke Pirie was sentenced to six years in jail

Earlier judge Lord Ericht told Pirie he had "shattered the lives of a family".

"For them nothing will ever be the same," he said.

Pirie admitted killing the toddler by dangerous driving and causing serious injury to others at an earlier hearing.

The court heard that Pirie was seen speeding through Coupar Angus and had used his mobile for calls, texts and Facetime before the crash.

He was said to be "worked up" and angry because he suspected his partner Heather Eaton of cheating on him.

He left his work at Scone Airport in Perth early to travel to Montrose to confront her.

The collision took place on an unclassified road close to the A94 Perth to Forfar road on 13 October last year, shortly after all three victims had got off the bus from Dundee.

They were walking together, hand-in-hand.

Image copyright Graeme Hart
Image caption Harlow's mother, Sara, made an emotional statement outside court after sentencing

CCTV showed his Ford Focus speeding behind a line of traffic moments before the crash.

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

He then lost control of his car which struck a wall as Harlow and the two others were walking past on the pavement.

Harlow was fatally injured and the 17-year-old suffered a spinal fracture and was in a wheelchair for three months. The six-year-old boy suffered a fractured skull.

Defence QC Mark Stewart said Pirie suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression.

He added: "Mr Pirie accepts that his driving was impaired and he accepts it was his decision to overtake what he believed to be a line of stationary cars that caused the crash.

"He can't do anything to make things better or make things right. All he could do was plead guilty."

Pirie was also banned from driving for seven years and ordered to re-sit his driving test.

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