Mother of man sought after fatal hit-and-run crash appeals for him to come home
The mother of a man believed to have fled the country after a hit-and-run crash which killed a four-year-old girl has made an emotional plea for him to come home.
Violet-Grace Youens died in hospital in her mother's arms on Saturday after she was struck by a stolen black Ford Fiesta while walking through St Helens, Merseyside, on Friday.
Her grandmother, Angela French, 55, was also injured in the crash and is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.
Merseyside Police are searching for 23-year-old Aidan McAteer, who is believed to have left the country within hours of the crash.
On Wednesday his mother, Alicia McAteer, 41, called for him to come home.
She said: "I need him to come home."
She added: "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."
Mrs McAteer said she felt "numb" after seeing a CCTV image released by police after the crash of her son.
She said she contacted police after seeing the photo.
She said: "I was just thinking of that poor woman and little girl."
She added: "I don't condone this and if I could go back in time I would."
The mother of four, who has another son, 18, and two daughters aged 11 and 20, said she would usually hear from Mr AcAteer every day, but had not heard from him since before the crash.
She said: "I'm a mum to children and I don't know how I would feel if this happened to them.
"What I'm feeling is probably a fraction of what she is."
She added: "This is a nightmare but my nightmare is not half as bad as it is for that family."
Dean Brennan, 27, appeared at Liverpool Magistrates' Court on Wednesday charged with assisting an offender, theft of a motor vehicle and the aggravating offence of allowing oneself to be carried within a stolen vehicle.
A third man, aged 23 and from Prescot, was arrested on suspicion of being carried in a stolen vehicle but later released pending further inquiries.
Violet-Grace's mother, Rebecca Youens, paid tribute to her "brave baby girl" after she died in hospital.
"My beautiful baby girl passed away in my arms on 25/03/2017 at 23:38," she said in a Facebook post.
"Thank you for all your well wishes ... she was just too poorly.
"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 memory of the youngster has raised more than £16,000.
A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "Following Aidan's mother's appeal, we would like to appeal to him to contact us as soon as possible and would also like to appeal to anyone who knows of his whereabouts to contact us."
Anyone with information can call 0151 777 6041, 101, or the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111.