The family of a “pillar of the community” who was killed when a boy she was fostering ran over her with her own car have said they feel “completely let down” by the decision to drop a murder charge against the defendant.
Grandmother Marcia Grant suffered catastrophic injuries as she tried to stop the youngster taking her vehicle from outside her home in the Greenhill area of Sheffield on April 5.
A court heard that the 60-year-old’s husband, Delroy, desperately tried to stop the boy, who had never driven before, as he knocked down the much-loved foster carer and reversed over her.
The boy, now 13, who cannot be named due to his age, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday to two years in custody after admitting causing death by dangerous driving at a previous hearing.
But he was originally charged with murdering Mrs Grant and, after he was sentenced, her family criticised the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) decision not to pursue that charge.
In a statement, they said: “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 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.”
The family said they also believe that decisions made by Rotherham Council, which was responsible for placing the boy in Mrs Grant’s care, “played a critical role in the circumstances which led to our mum’s death”.
Their statement said: “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.”
The court heard on Wednesday that the boy took Mrs Grant’s car keys and a kitchen knife on April 5 and later explained that he was intending to go back to his mother.
Prosecutor Mark McKone KC said Mrs Grant went to the back of the car before the boy reversed, knocking her over.
Mr Grant desperately tried to stop the vehicle, eventually breaking the driver’s window as he “pleaded” with the boy.
The boy fled the scene, saying “Sorry, sorry”. Mr McKone said.
When he was arrested he told a policewoman: “I’m going to f****** kill your family, you bitch, and I don’t give a f***.”
The boy asked officers “Is she dead?” before saying “It was an accident, I swear”, five minutes later.
A previous court hearing was told that the boy also told police: “Looks like I got my first kill?”
Mrs Grant had been a foster carer since 2016 and the defendant had been staying with her for several days at the time of her death, a judge was told.
The court heard the boy had “an extremely challenging childhood”.
Mr McKone said he “claimed to have been a gangster since aged nine” and had a number of disagreements with Mrs Grant’s husband, including one about him watching “inappropriate television”.
In a prepared statement to police, the defendant 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.”
He said he took the knife from Mrs Grant’s kitchen “for my own protection”.
The boy said: “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.”
Mrs Grant’s daughter, Gemma Grant, wiped away tears as she said her mother “wanted to pull the world into a hug, lend a hand and raise the spirits of anyone facing adversity”.
Reading her victim impact statement to the court, Ms Grant said: “It floors me that the boy that killed her was greeted by a massive hug, given lots of assurance and her trademark warmth.
“We will never forgive him and will carry this trauma with us always.”
Mrs Grant’s son, Shaun Grant, said she was “killed by someone whom she had taken into her home, not once, but twice”.
He told the court: “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.”
The defendant sat quietly in a glass-fronted dock throughout the hearing, wearing a black suit with a white shirt and black tie.
The defendant was also banned from driving for six years and will be required to take an extended driving test at the end of the disqualification.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Andrea Bowell, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Marcia was a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend and a pillar of her community.”
Nicola Curley, strategic director of children’s services at Rotherham Council, said an independent partnership review will be conducted into the case and Mrs Grant’s family will have the opportunity to contribute.
Ms Curley said: “As one of our foster carers, Marcia was well known, much-loved and highly respected in our fostering community.
“She selflessly provided generous love and care to vulnerable children who needed it the most and she is sadly missed by all those who knew her well.”