A milkman who killed a 22-month-old girl in a “tragedy of untold proportions” when he reversed over her in a milk float has been spared custody.
Christopher Davidson, 20, was reversing at around 14mph in West View, Halifax, when he collided with Zoya Hussain who ran into the road from between two parked cars.
The toddler died the following day with abdominal and head injuries from being run over by both the back and front wheels of the float.
Davidson, who was 18 at the time of the collision, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at Bradford Crown Court. He was handed a 10-month sentence in a young offenders’ institution, suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC described Davidson’s driving as “remarkably foolish”.
He said: “A 22-month-old child who wandered from the safety of her home into the street lost her life instantaneously when the front and rear wheels of the milk lorry went over the child.
“This is a tragedy of untold proportions. Nothing this court can do can bring this child back.
“My sympathies and sensitivities are with the family of the child who was killed by a remarkably foolish but short-lived piece of driving by an otherwise decent young man.”
Davidson, of Valley Grove, Halifax, was collecting money on a milk round at around 5.30pm on August 25 2011.
Nick Adlington, prosecuting, told the court Davidson was aware that children were playing in the street and did not ask his colleague to watch for hazards as he reversed.
Davidson reversed around 60 metres down the road when he saw a blur in his wing mirror as Zoya ran into his path and heard a bang as the milk float hit her, Mr Adlington said.
He braked but the front and back wheels reversed over the little girl before the vehicle could stop.
It was calculated that Zoya would have been visible to Davidson for around 0.8 seconds before the impact.
Experts found that if Davidson was travelling more slowly, the milk float could have stopped before the wheels ran over the toddler, or the collision could have been avoided completely.
Mr Adlington said Davidson’s speed was “unsafe for the conditions”.
Judge Durham Hall said Zoya’s family, who were not in court today, had experienced the “ultimate nightmare of any parent”.
Sentencing Davidson, he said: “The little girl’s family will have a lifetime of unthinkable despair, for you cannot recover from the death of a child.”
He continued: “Speed kills. Speed, and the devices to control it, are not nuisances to be avoided and cheated. Speed kills. And in your case, your speed killed that little girl.”
Judge Durham Hall said Davidson, who was described as a “thoroughly decent, hard-working, law-abiding young man”, would have to live with what he had done for the rest of his life.
“It was an error, for which you directly and fully bear responsibility, which robbed a 22-month-old baby girl of her life,” he said.
“Your driving was inappropriate, was careless and you caused the death.”
He added: “You reversed too fast, too long, in a completely risk-full situation with a restricted view.”
Davidson, who stood in the dock wearing a dark-coloured suit and tie, showed no emotion as he was sentenced.
He was disqualified from driving for two-and-a-half years.