A 13-year-old boy has been jailed for killing his foster carer by running her over with her own car on her driveway.
The teen, who cannot be named, has today been sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to two years in custody, having previously pleaded guilty to causing the death of 60-year-old grandmother Marcia Grant by dangerous driving. The court had previously heard that Ms Grant's husband Delroy had seen his wife go under the car. During sentencing the judge was told Delroy Grant was left with “hole in his heart that will never heal”.
The heartbroken husband desperately broke the car window to drag the youngster from behind the wheel. The court was shown CCTV of Ms Grant standing behind her car before she was mowed down. She was killed after she was trapped under her Honda Accord which was reversed over her at speed outside her home in Sheffield in April.
The court heard the boy, who was just 12 at the time of the horrific incident, told police "looks like I got my first kill" as they arrested him at the scene During sentencing Justice May sent him to two years in custody at a secure children’s home. He could be released as early as five months, taking into account the time he’s already spent in custody.
The judge pointed out the prosecution accepted this was not murder but a “bad accident” as the boy didn’t know how to drive.
Today the youngster wore a black suit with white shirt and black tie. During a previous court hearing, where the youngster had denied the charges he was seen leaning back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head and looking up at the journalists and police officers sitting in the public gallery.
At one point he yawned and was also told by one of the officers accompanying him to take his feet down from the front wall of the dock. The court heard police and paramedics were called to an incident outside Mrs Grant’s house on Hemper Lane, Greenhill, on April 5, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a prepared statement to police, the defendant said he was taking the car so that he could drive to see his mother. He said: “I had a good relationship with Marcia and Delroy, however I always missed being with my family and wished to be with them.
“When I returned to Marcia’s home having left I decided I needed to be with my mother. I was worried if I travelled alone I could be attacked so I took a knife from the kitchen for my own protection. I remember starting the engine, putting the gear into reverse. I have never driven a car before and so struggled to do so.
“I remember seeing Marcia rush out then Delroy after. Delroy was on my right side shouting and hitting the car window. I was in a state of panic, I didn’t know Marcia was behind the car. I never intended to hit her or cause her any harm. I’m very sorry for what has happened.”
When he first appeared before court in April, prosecutor Gary Crothers told Sheffield Youth Court that police at the scene noted that the boy said “Is she dead?”, “Looks like I got my first kill?”, and “It was an accident, I swear.”
At an earlier hearing, Ben Campbell, defending, said the issue in relation to these comments was “what you can infer from them in all the circumstances”. Mr Crothers told the youth court: “At around 7pm on the evening in question this defendant is seen on CCTV attempting to take Mrs Grant’s car. Mrs Grant tries to stop him by going behind the car.
“On CCTV, the vehicle is driven slightly erratically at this time and it does come to a stop. Mrs Grant positions herself behind the vehicle. The vehicle reverses, causing her to fall on her back and her head impacts with the ground. She was trapped under the vehicle, her husband tried to break the window of the car to get the defendant out of the car.”
The prosecutor said the vehicle then reversed “at some speed causing the catastrophic injuries to Mrs Grant”. He said that she was pronounced dead at the scene just after 7.30pm by attending paramedics. Prosecutor Mark McKone KC said the boy “claimed to have been a gangster since aged nine” and had a number of disagreements with Mrs Grant’s husband Delroy, including one about him watching “inappropriate television”.
Ms Grant's daughter Gemma was left shaking and wiping away tears as she addressed the court about the loss of their “rock” who just wanted to “hug the world”, during the sentencing hearing.
She said: “The one person who could have guided us through a trauma and tragedy like this isn’t here. Physically and mentally the events have taken a real toll. Delroy’s mental health is severely impacted, not just by the loss of his wife but the loss of days to come with his family, his Marce."
She said he had started smoking again, 10 years after quitting. She added: “For months Delroy couldn’t stop shaking and still experiences rapid heartbeats and flashbacks of trying to get mum out from under the car, feelings of helplessness, anger and guilt so strong that he could not save his wife.
“And he re-experiences this over and over again. I have MS and as a result of the stress and anger I feel I have relapsed. I am constantly anxious to the point of not being able to function." She said the “additional stress” had “impacted my ability to walk”.
Her mum, she said, had a “fierce ambition to love, comfort and bring joy to anyone and everyone she met.
"She wanted to pull the world into a hug, lend a hand and raise the spirits of anyone facing adversity…I get frequent flashbacks to the sight of my mum pinned under the car, of the fire service dragging her body from under the car, of seeing her misshapen, unfamiliar and badly damaged body lying in the coroner’s office as I am asked to identify her.”
Her son Shaun Grant told of his horror of his dad having to witness the whole ordeal of “1500 kg of weight rolling over the love of his life at speed. Crushing her instantly. I also came to find out that my dad pleaded with the perpetrator not to do it. He begged him ‘don’t touch anything’ he said ‘Marcia is back there’.
“Yet with complete disregard for my dad’s pleas the perpetrator placed the car into reverse and put his foot on the gas and in these moments he shattered our family to pieces."
Shaun added: “When he steps out onto his driveway and gets in his car, never will there be a moment where he doesn’t relive the tragic events that’ve been inflicted on us by this remorseless individual.
He added his mum was “killed by someone whom she had taken into her home not once, but twice”.
“I have had my best friend ripped away from me with no chance to say goodbye. With no chance to tell her how amazing she was as a mum, wife and foster carer.”