Oxford

Liberty Baker: Man admits death by dangerous driving

Liberty Baker
Image caption Liberty Baker attended Henry Box School in Witney

A man who killed a 14-year-old girl when his car mounted the pavement has admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

Liberty Baker died in hospital after being struck as she walked to school in Witney, Oxfordshire, on 30 June.

Two other 14-year-olds and a man were also hit in Curbridge Road and needed hospital treatment.

Robert Blackwell, 19, of Hayway Lane, Bampton, also admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He is due to be sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on 16 April.

Image caption Robert Blackwell also admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving

Prosecutor Ian Hope said Blackwell was travelling at "a minimum of 44mph" in a 30mph zone when his Citroen C2 struck Liberty.

Blackwell also admitted to police he had smoked cannabis the day before the crash after levels of the chemical THC were detected in his blood.

Mr Hope said Blackwell was "distracted for what must have been a period of time of 10 seconds or more".

His mobile telephone received a text five minutes before the first call to emergency services following the collision, the lawyer added.

Image caption Paul and Maureen Baker said it was the "hardest day of our lives" when Liberty died

Defence barrister Claire Fraser said Blackwell denied that he was distracted by the message which was unopened.

Speaking to the BBC before the hearing, Liberty's father, Paul, said: "I know it was six months ago but it does feel like yesterday. It was the hardest day of our lives and it still is. Every day is a struggle. It feels like a part of us is missing that will never come back.

"It was a typical Monday morning. She was searching around for her school tie. I found her tie for her - in some ways I wish I didn't find it, now, because that would have delayed her departure.

"I saw her walk out the door and that was the last time I saw Liberty alive. Within 10 minutes the incident occurred and our lives just changed and have never been the same since."

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