Dad of ten-year-old mowed down by joyriders hits out at sentence
THE angry family of a ten-year-old boy mowed down on a crossing by a thug on a stolen motorbike have slammed the sentence handed down.
Their lad suffered horrific injuries and has been left with a limp and partial paralysis after the Drylaw hit-and-run in August that shocked a community.
Connor Whalen, 20, was given three years and eight months. The friend he was racing, Marc Miller, 23, was given two years and 11 months.
The boy’s father said: “The doctors told us to prepare for the worst. They said not many kids could survive if the bike was going 40mph.
“His leg injury was life-threatening on its own, let along the head injury.”
“Due to a change in sentencing Whalen has to serve 2/3s of his 44 month sentence – as it was my son I know exactly how close we came to losing our boy!”
Whalen and Miller will also be subject to a 12-month Supervised Release Order when let out of prison. Both men had previously been disqualified from holding a driving licence. They pleaded guilty earlier this month.
Community leaders also criticised the sentences. Labour member for Forth, Cllr Cammy Day posted on Twitter: “Usual poor response from the justice system – not recognising the impact on local communities. Let the judges live in north Edinburgh.”
And Tory Mark Brown said: “Dreadfully light jail term here for an absolutely horrific incident in North Edinburgh where bike crime continues to blight the community despite significant inroads being made by local Police.
“It doesn’t exactly serve as a deterrent. Hopefully it brings some closure for the family. It’ll be little comfort that their son will be dealing with his injuries a lot longer than these guys are in prison for.”
Sentencing Whalen and Miller at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC labelled their conduct “disgraceful and extremely dangerous”.
Their victim has been left with a limp and restricted movement in his right arm.
He also suffered permanent scarring and will need further surgery. He returned to school for the first time in early December.
Both Whalen and Miller have previous convictions for traffic offences involving motor bikes. They had both pled guilty previously to stealing the bikes on Saturday, August 19 and to dangerous driving.
Whalen, who was on a stolen Triumph Daytona 650cc, also admitted causing his victim severe injury.
The pair drove at high speed through the centre of the city until they came to a pedestrian crossing on Ferry Road outside Drylaw Police Station. A police van was parked outside.
Miller drove over the crossing at 40mph, followed by Whalen, doing an estimated 50mph.
Whalen’s bike struck the ten-year-old on the crossing.
After hitting him, Whalen ran off, jumped on the back of Miller’s bike and they fled.
Speaking following the sentencing, Procurator Fiscal Andrew Richardson, said: “It is the type of incident which could easily have ended in a fatality. Such joyriding is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Chief Inspector Stevie Sutherland said: “The shock of this collision was felt throughout the North Edinburgh community and I would like to thank them for their support throughout our investigation.”