Driver killed toddler while ‘angry’ texting his partner

A driver speeding to confront his alleged cheating girlfriend mounted the pavement and killed a two-year-old girl.  

Harlow Edwards was walking along the pavement with two other children – aged six and 17 at the time – when two cars crashed on the road close to them in Coupar Angus, Perth and Kinross, on October 13 last year.

A Ford Focus driven by Luke Pirie, who had been using his phone to contact his partner Heather Eaton who he suspected had been unfaithful, mounted the pavement hitting all three, instantly killing Harlow and throwing the others over a roadside wall.

Pirie (pictured), 23, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving

Two-year-old Harlow Edwards (left) was knocked over and killed by ‘worked up’ Luke Pirie (right) who had been driving to his partner’s home to confront her over an alleged affair

At the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday, 23-year-old Pirie pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

He had passed his driving test just a year before and was said to be ‘worked up’ and angry as he left his work at Scone Airport in Perth to travel to his partner’s house in Montrose.

The court heard texts recovered from his phone sent to Ms Eaton included ‘I’m coming home’ followed by ‘cheat’ and ‘You’ve obviously done something stupid that you’re afraid to talk to me’. 

Advocate Depute Iain McSporran QC told the court Pirie was seen speeding through Coupar Angus and had used his mobile for calls, texts and a Facetime before the crash.

Pirie (pictured) had been using his phone before hitting Harlow and two other children at 50mph in his Ford Focus

Pirie (pictured) had been using his phone before hitting Harlow and two other children at 50mph in his Ford Focus

CCTV showed the Ford Focus speeding behind a line of traffic moments before the crash, prompting sighs from the Edwards family in court.

The cars in front had slowed as a Citroen signalled to turn right but Pirie pulled out and tried to overtake the traffic, colliding with the Citreon at around 50mph as it began to turn.

Mr McSporran said the accused lost control of his car which spun and mounted the pavement where the children were walking after getting off a bus from Dundee.

Harlow suffered ‘multiple severe injuries’ while the 17-year-old suffered bleeding on the brain and a spinal fracture which left her in a wheel chair for three months.

The other child suffered a skull fracture and permanent scarring in the crash.

Defence lawyer Mark Stewart QC said his client ‘wrongly believed it was a stationary line of traffic’ when he tried to overtake.

A victim impact statement from Harlow’s mother, Sara, was read to the court in which she said she had been ‘robbed of a lifetime of memories’.

Mrs Edwards said she cries herself to sleep every night and now expects bad news every time the phone rings.

Pirie was remanded in custody with the case adjourned to October 4 for sentencing.

Judge Lord Ericht told him: ‘Because of what you did Harlow will never return home.’