Dad attacks 18-month sentence for ‘child killer’

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The family of girl a who died nine years after she was involved in a car crash have attacked the driver’s 18-month prison sentence as an “insult”.

Cerys Edwards was travelling in the car with her parents when they were struck by a Range Rover Sport on 11 November 2006 – just after her first birthday.

She was left paralysed, unable to breathe and needing 24-hour specialist care, until she died in October 2015 – a month before her 10th birthday – following complications caused by an infection.

Medical experts concluded her death was “a consequence of her spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury sustained in collision”, a court heard yesterday.

The driver of the car – married father-of-two Antonio Boparan, who was 19 and is now 32 – appeared at Birmingham Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

The girl’s father, Gareth Edwards, who was in court for the sentencing, said that just a week before the crash the family had held a “big party” for Cerys’s birthday.

“But nine days later I was performing CPR on my daughter, thanks to Antonio Boparan’s selfish stupidity.”

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Edwards said the family had “finally got justice” for Cerys but that the time Boparan would actually serve in jail was “a complete insult”.

He said: “We have been left with a life sentence without our beautiful little girl whose precious life was stolen from us.

“Finally we can say it as it is, Boparan is a child killer. He has broken our hearts.”

Judge Melbourne Inman QC said Boparan had shown “an arrogant disregard for the safety of others” on the day of the crash and caused “catastrophic” injuries to Cerys.

He said: “The quality of her short life was destroyed as in many ways was that of her parents.

“Finally, Cerys yielded to her injuries and disabilities and your criminal actions eventually took her life away from her.”

Boparan, of Little Aston in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, was also banned from driving for three years and nine months.

Prosecutor Simon Davis said Boparan was seen by other drivers overtaking two cars just before the crash on Streetly Lane – which has a 30mph limit – in Sutton Coldfield.

He was unable to stop safely when a vehicle emerged in front of him and his car ploughed head-on at 71mph into a Jeep Cherokee driven by Cerys’s mother Tracey.

The family’s vehicle was “shunted” 50ft backwards into another car and Mrs Edwards broke her left leg, her husband suffered a broken nose and rib, and Cerys sustained what one doctor described as a “catastrophic severance of the high spinal cord” and was left brain damaged.

While awaiting trial for what was then a charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Boparan was clocked doing 95mph in a 50mph limit.

On his conviction later that year for severely injuring Cerys, he was jailed for 21 months – and served six months and three days in prison.

James Sturman, defending Boparan, told the court both his client and father Ranjit Singh Boparan had raised £10m over 10 years, through setting up the Boparan Charitable Trust for children with disabilities.

Boparan’s father, the court heard, made a £200,000 payment to Cerys’s parents to buy a house suitable for the child’s needs, and attended a funeral service arranged by Mrs Edwards for the little girl.

(c) Sky News 2019: Dad attacks 18-month sentence for ‘child killer’

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