The Christian parents of a boy who was killed by an out-of-control drug driver say that with God’s help they can forgive the woman convicted of his death by dangerous driving.
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Sam Riddall, who was eleven years old, was killed as he walked home from church when a car driven by Hannah Saaf mounted the pavement at twice the speed limit.
Martin and Rachel Riddall, Sam’s parents, speaking outside Bristol Crown Court on Monday said: “We want to thank everyone who has helped us through these past terrible eight months.
“Our family, friends, church and community and the police have been very, very kind to us.
“In four days’ time we will be celebrating Christmas, our first Christmas without Sam and it’s going to be very hard for us.
“We still miss him very much indeed.
“At Christmas, we remember God sending Jesus into the world to bring peace, and it’s this same God who is giving us the strength to forgive Hannah for the terrible thing she did by killing our son.
“It’s not easy but with God’s help we know it’s possible.”
Sam was walking home on 1 May this year from the Henleaze and Westbury Community Church in Bristol, when Mrs Saaf’s car hit him.
Mrs Saaf, who is a mother of two, was driving a white Ford Focus estate when she mounted the kerb, trapping the young boy beneath the car.
She let herself out of the passenger side of the vehicle and walked away from the collision.
Sam was pronounced dead in hospital less than an hour after the accident, having sustained “overwhelming” head injuries.
Mrs Saaf admitted death by dangerous driving and has expressed remorse for her actions.
The Court was told that Mrs Saaf had been up the whole of the previous night listening to music and smoking cannabis with a friend.
Judge Simon Darwall-Smith said: “You were clearly under the influence of cannabis and you were more than twice the speed allowed.
“You then fled and left the scene having killed the victim.
“There is no sentence that any court can pass which will ever compensate for a tragic loss such as this.”
Judge Darwall-Smith told Mrs Saaf she would have received a substantial prison sentence had it not been for her poor mental health.
Mrs Saaf suffers from bi polar disorder and has been previously been detained under the Mental Health Act.
She is to be indefinitely detained in hospital.
Mrs Saaf said in a statement after her arrest: “I admit to being the driver involved in the collision.”
She added: “I am deeply upset at the loss of Sam’s life and as a mother myself I feel greatly for his parents.
“I feel deep remorse and am very sorry for what happened”.