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A man has been jailed after he pleaded guilty to causing the death of a six-year-old girl by dangerous driving.
John Stephen Owen, 46, of The Square, Oakamoor, was sentenced to six years and two months’ imprisonment at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today (Tuesday 4 October) for causing the death of six-year-old Sharlotte Naglis.
He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing on 18 July 2022.
Owen was also banned from driving for eight years and one month and is required to complete an extended re-test.
The court heard that Owen had been driving his blue Skoda Fabia along Endon Road in Norton after drinking in Leek earlier that day.
Whilst approaching a bend at speed, Owen lost control of his car, crossed onto the other side of the road, mounted the kerb and collided with Sharlotte, who had been walking on the pavement with her father towards their home.
Sadly, Sharlotte died at the scene.
Owen, who was injured in the collision after being ejected from his vehicle due to not wearing a seatbelt, was later found to have 146µg of alcohol in his blood, against the legal limit of 80µg. He was also shown to have cocaine in his system that was just under twice the specified limit.
Forensic Collision Investigators calculated Owen’s speed 200 metres prior to the collision as being in the region of 48mph.
The court was also told that Owen had been on a phone call in the moments prior to the collision and, although it was a hands-free call using the car’s s Bluetooth audio system and, despite it not being a specific offence, this could have affected his ability to concentrate on his driving.
PC Gavin Knott, from the Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Today’s sentence can in no way make up for Sharlotte’s death but I would like to thank her family and the wider community for their support whilst this complex and detailed investigation took place.
“The 'Fatal Four' are amongst the most common reasons why a death occurs on the road and includes drink and drug driving, speeding, using a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seat belt. Sadly, all four are factors in this collision and three no doubt contributed in the tragic death of Sharlotte. This collision was entirely avoidable and has robbed a family of a happy and loving daughter.”
In a statement, Sharlotte’s family said: “Sharlotte was so beautiful, full of life, always smiling, sassy, so brave and happy. Sharlotte just started her gymnastics classes which she loved and was shining so bright in. She was loved by everyone that met her, so caring and loving.
“Every night since she was born she would never sleep without holding her mum’s hand. There will never be another child like her for anyone who met her. She was taken so early from us and will never be forgotten.”