The Grant family felt “completely let down” after the court gave their mother’s 13-year-old killer a two-year sentence for running her over in her own car.
Marcia Grant was killed outside her home in Hemper Lane, Greenhill, Sheffield, early morning on April 5.
The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, took a knife and tried to drive away in Ms. Grant’s car, the court heard. In a statement, the defendant explained that he took the car to visit his mother, and brought a knife for his “own protection”.
Prosecutor Mark McKone KC told the court that the young man “claimed to have been a gangster since aged nine”. Mrs. Grant’s husband told her that “someone’s taking the car”, and she went to the back of the vehicle to stop the defendant from leaving. The young male reversed into the foster mother and Mr Grant heard her “pleading” him to stop driving.
Mr. McKone said the defendant fled the scene, shouting “sorry, sorry”. The court accepted the defendant’s guilty plea to the charge of dangerous driving, rather than murder.
The defendant explained, in his statement, that he was “in a state of panic” and he “never intended to hit her [Mrs. Grant] or cause her any harm”:“I’m very sorry for what has happened. I hope it is accepted that this was a tragic accident.”
The Judge described the killing as “a very bad accident” and told the defendant: "You made a bad choice. You knew that taking her car was wrong. You knew that taking her kitchen knife was wrong.
"The offence you committed was serious but it was not murder. The prosecution have accepted that you did not mean to harm Mrs Grant."
The verdict outraged Mrs. Grant’s family. Marcia Grant’s son, Shaun, who, according to The Guardian, says he learnt about his mother’s death from his sister, told the court the defendant had an “intent to cause harm”: “What I came to find out is that she was killed by someone wearing a balaclava and concealing a knife. Someone with the intent to cause harm”.
The family statement, published by South Yorkshire Police, reads: “The last eight months has been torture, our anguish only to be compounded by the reduction in criminal charges brought against the defendant charged with the death of our mother.
"We feel completely let down by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and their lack of willingness to allow our mum’s story to be heard and brought to meaningful justice.
"We strongly believe that the evidence on hand shows a complete disregard for human life and clear premeditation to do serious harm.
"We also believe that decisions made by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council played a critical role in the circumstances which led to our mum's death.
"Our mother was killed on her own driveway by a young person wearing a balaclava, carrying a stolen knife, and in the act of stealing her car when he ran her over not once, but twice.
"Our mum looked after many vulnerable and troubled children during her time as a foster carer and as a civilian. We have seen these young lives be touched by her love, kindness, and generosity.
"Still, this whole ordeal leaves us with so many unanswered questions and we are completely heartbroken that our mother will not get the justice she deserves.
"We are truly thankful for all the support we have received from family, friends, and the public. We fully intend to keep searching for answers and we ask that you continue to respect our privacy as we grieve for our beloved mum and wife.’
According to a report by BBC News, Shaun Grant said in court that his family’s world was “turned upside down”: "Since this day our lives have been turned upside down".
"How someone had such disregard for human life.
Mrs Grant’s daughter, Gemma, described her reaction to her mother’s death in The Guardian’s report: “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.
South Yorkshire Police Det Ch Insp Andrea Bowell said at the sentencing: "Although the criminal justice process has concluded, I'm aware that this brings no resolution for Marcia's friends and family.
"They will continue to grieve their tremendous loss and will do so for the rest of their lives."
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