Grieving parents victim impact statement was redacted so as not to upset

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The parents of a four-year-old girl killed by a speeding car thief, had their victim impact statement edited in court to prevent upsetting the defendant when he was being sentenced, it has emerged.Glenn and Rebecca Youens’ daughter, Violet-Grace, died after Aidan McAteer, who had been travelling at 83mph in a 30pmh zone, ploughed into her in a stolen car.But when he appeared in court his lawyers successfully objected to her parents’ impact statement being read out in full in open court.McAteer’s barrister persuaded the judge that his client would find the experience “too upsetting”, if the statement was read out in full.As a result part of their comments about their devastation at their daughter’s loss were redacted.Marie Rimmer, who is the MP for Mr and Mrs Youens, is now calling for a change in the law to prevent a similar situation occurring in the future. Marie Rimmer has raised the issue with other MPs Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Speaking during a debate in Westminster Hall, Ms Rimmer told MPs that McAteer’s barrister had applied for the statement to be edited ahead of sentencing. She explained: “The judge accepted this and the CPS barrister gave the parents a copy of their impact statement with parts they could not read out in open court highlighted.” Marie Rimmer has raised the issue with other MPsCredit:PA She said the law had to be improved for victims and survivors and said it was unacceptable that the needs of the defendant were being put first.She said: “The whole purpose of the victim impact statement is the impact on the victims and the survivors, not the defendant. Guidance should be given to the judiciary that the overriding consideration is for the victim and their family, not whether the impact statement may upset the defendant.”Violet-Grace was killed in March 2017 and McAteer, who was 23 at the time was jailed two months later for nine years and four months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.Her father Glenn told the Guardian: “We were told that we wouldn’t be able to read the full statement because it was upsetting. We were quite shocked at this but mostly angry that we had to protect our daughter’s killer from becoming distressed.“We were the ones that had lost our daughter yet we were made to feel like we had to put her killer first … it made us lose faith in the justice system.”Her parents have launched a petition calling for tougher sentences for dangerous drivers.Ms Rimmer, who is the Labour MP for St Helens South and Whiston said she knew of at least two other hearings in which impact statements had been edited after pleas by defence lawyers.

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