Killer drivers will finally face life in jail under Violet-Grace’s law next year

Killer drivers will be punished with life sentences under new legislation next year dubbed Violet-Grace's law.

Judges will be able to give motorists convicted of causing death by dangerous driving the toughest punishment in UK law.

The heartbroken parents of four-year-old Violet-Grace Youens welcomed the reforms announced by Justice Secretary Robert Buckland.

Convicted burglar Aidan McAteer, 23, was jailed for nine years and four months after admitting her death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury to Violet Grace's grandmother, Angela French, 58.

Violet-Grace's father Glenn, 33, said the legislation which includes motorists who kill while speeding, racing or using their mobile phones, was his daughter's "legacy".

Previously, killer drivers could only be sentenced to a maximum of 14 years in prison.

Life sentences will also be introduced for causing death by careless driving while drunk or on drugs.

Other proposed reforms include changing the law so that teenage killers of children will face a lifetime behind bars in the biggest shake-up of sentencing for 20 years.

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Announcing the changes as part of wider reforms, Mr Buckland said: “Punishments must fit the crime but too often families tell us this isn’t the case with killer drivers.”

A move to include 18 to 20-year-olds in whole life orders was one of the sweeping changes ­unveiled this weekend by the Government.

It means murderer Sean Mercer, who shot 11-year-old Liverpool lad Rhys Jones in 2007, will have to serve the full 22-year ­minimum term handed down when he was 16.

The same applies to the killers of sales manager Garry Newlove, beaten to death the same year by youths he confronted vandalising his wife’s car in Warrington, Cheshire.

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Violet-Grace was mown down at 83mph and left in the road by McAteer in March 2017 after he ran two red lights in a stolen Ford Fiesta.

He stepped over Violet-Grace's prone body as he fled the scene in St Helens, Merseyside, and went on the run to Amsterdam until he was shopped by his own mother.

He then went on the run to Amsterdam but was shopped by his own mother. 4

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