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Family's tribute to 'brave and happy' girl, 6, killed by drink driver at twice speed limit

John Stephen Owen has been jailed after he pleaded guilty to causing Sharlotte Naglis' death by dangerous driving. (Reach)
John Stephen Owen has been jailed after he pleaded guilty to causing Sharlotte Naglis' death by dangerous driving. (Reach)

The devastated family of a six-year-old girl killed by a drink and drug-fuelled driver have paid tribute to the “brave and happy” youngster.

Sharlotte Naglis, who had been walking on the pavement on Endon Road, Norton, Stoke-on-Trent, with her father towards their home when John Stephen Owen approached a bend at speed and lost control of his car.

Owen, 46, crossed onto the other side of the road, mounted the kerb and collided with Sharlotte in the incident on 19 June last year.

Sharlotte, who had been walking to a shop with her father Kris Naglis to buy sweets for “girly night” with her mum, died at the scene.

Owen, who was injured in the collision after being ejected from his vehicle due to not wearing a seatbelt, was later found to tested over the legal limit for alcohol and was also shown to have cocaine in his system that was just under twice the specified limit.

Sharlotte Naglis had been walking to a shop with her dad Kris to buy sweets for 'girly night' with her mum. (Reach)
Sharlotte Naglis had been walking to a shop with her dad Kris to buy sweets for 'girly night' with her mum. (Reach)

He was jailed this week after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

In a statement, Sharlotte’s family said: “Sharlotte was so beautiful, full of life, always smiling, sassy, so brave and happy. Sharlotte just started her gymnastics classes which she loved and was shining so bright in. She was loved by everyone that met her, so caring and loving.

“Every night since she was born she would never sleep without holding her mum’s hand. There will never be another child like her for anyone who met her. She was taken so early from us and will never be forgotten.”

Sharlotte’s mum, Claire Reynolds, described her daughter as a “big character” who was “never scared of anything except for heights”.

Ms Reynolds spoke of her grief following the death of her daughter, that has left her suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Sharlotte Naglis was described as 'brave and happy'. (Reach)
Sharlotte Naglis was described as 'brave and happy'. (Reach)

She said: “Anything good that happens – you feel this guilt. I took the kids bowling and I felt guilty. I remember the first time I laughed – I felt so bad.

“But I know Sharlotte wouldn’t have wanted me to be like that.”

Ms Reynolds added: “It’s hard to describe, but I just walk around like a zombie. I feel numb, but I have to keep going for my family.”

Owen, of The Square, Oakamoor, was jailed for six years and two months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court this week.

Forensic Collision Investigators calculated Owen’s speed 200 metres prior to the collision as being in the region of 48mph.

He had also been on a Bluetooth audio phone call moments before the crash, which investigators say could also have affected his ability to concentrate on his driving.

Road safety measures on Endon Road have been approved since the crash, including ‘speed cushions’ and a traffic calming ‘gateway’ at either end.