Hit-and-run suspect Aidan McAteer urged to return by his mother after girl dies

Russell Hope, News Reporter

The mother of a man suspected of being involved in a hit-and-run crash in which a young girl died has pleaded with him to come home, saying: "He's running scared."

Aidan McAteer, 23, is thought to have fled the country hours after a stolen black Ford Fiesta hit four-year-old Violet-Grace Youens while she was walking in St Helens, Merseyside, with her grandmother on Friday afternoon.

She died in hospital in her mother's arms the following day.

McAteer's mother, Alicia McAteer, 41, pleaded with her son, saying: "I need him to come home. He's running scared.

"I know what he's done to this family is horrific and what they're going through, but he is my son and as a mum myself I'm worried about where he is and what his state of mind is."

Merseyside Police released CCTV images of two men fleeing the scene of the crash shortly afterwards.

Recognising her son as one of them, Mrs McAteer said she felt "numb" and contacted the force.

"I was just thinking of that poor woman and little girl. I don't condone this and if I could go back in time I would," she added.

"This is a nightmare but my nightmare is not half as bad as it is for that family."

The girl's grandmother, Angela French, 55, was also injured in the crash and is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Violet-Grace's mother, Rebecca Youens, paid tribute to her daughter: "My beautiful baby girl passed away in my arms on 25/03/2017 at 23:38," she said in a Facebook post.

"However, my brave baby girl saved two lives by donating her kidneys and pancreas.

"I am truly heartbroken but proud of my little fighter."

A fundraising website set up in the youngster's memory has raised more than £16,000.

Another man, Dean Brennan, 27, appeared at Liverpool Magistrates' Court on Wednesday charged with assisting an offender, theft of a motor vehicle and being carried in a stolen vehicle.

A third man, aged 23 and from Prescot, Merseyside, was arrested on suspicion of being carried in a stolen vehicle but released pending further inquiries.

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