Monday, 1 January 2007

No Justice for Olivia

On 28 July 2006, 7-year-old Olivia Whiteside was knocked down and killed in the Copy Nook area of Blackburn.

The car, whose occupants were Asian, did not stop. Four Asian men were, subsequently, arrested.

On 12 July 2007, The Lancashire Telegraph reported thus:

"A suspect in the 'hit-and-run' death of a seven-year-old girl will not face criminal charges, police have revealed. Olivia Whiteside lost her life after she was struck by an off-road vehicle while out playing, at the junction of Billinge Street and Dalton Close, Audley, in July 2006.

Police believe they have traced the driver, a 27-year-old man from Burnley, and a black Range Rover has also been recovered. But after reviewing the case, police and the Crown Prosecution Service have decided there is not enough evidence to charge the man with causing Olivia's death by dangerous driving.

Police said the man will not face any alternative charges because of prosecution time limits for lesser offences - careless driving allegations must be made within six months of an offence being committed. Det Chief Insp Neil Hunter, the senior investigating officer, said:

'We are happy that we have identified who the driver was. But there is an issue as to having sufficient evidence to prosecute him for an offence of dangerous driving, with the realistic prospect of achieving a conviction.'

Olivia's family and detectives pleaded with the driver to give himself up, as officers sought an Asian man in his early 20s in connection with the hit-and-run' incident… An inquest into the death of Olivia, who lived in Goldhey Street, Copy Nook, is set to take place at Blackburn Town Hall on Monday."

On 16 July 2007, The Burnley Citizen reported thus:

"Waqas Mahmood, 27, came face-to-face with Olivia Whiteside's mum and other relatives at the inquest into her death. And Mr Mahmood, from the Burnley area, told them he was not the person who knocked down Olivia...

The inquest was told that eye-witnesses described seeing a black Range Rover similar to that driven by Mr Mahmood in the area at the time of the accident. His mobile phone records also appeared to place him in the Dalton Close area, the inquest was told.

Mr Mahmood was arrested in connection with the crash but police said after the hearing that there was not enough evidence for a prosecution of death by dangerous driving. Detective Chief Inspector Neil Hunter added that because more than six months had passed since the incident, they could also not bring careless driving charges… Mr Mahmood, speaking later, said the inquest had exonerated him. He said:

'I completely deny any involvement in Olivia's death The coroner's verdict reinforces that it was nothing to do with me'...

Giving evidence, Detective Inspector Gary Brooks... said that following the Lancashire Telegraph's coverage of the incident, a woman who had been outside a take away on Copy Nook told police she had seen a black Range Rover in the area with an unusual number plate. The plate belonged to a grey Hyundai but after altering one digit, police traced a black Range Rover to the Mahmood family, with Mr Mahmood as one of two insured drivers, the inquest was told...

Officers then carried out cell site analysis of Mr Mahmood's two mobile phones. One was found to have been used on the day of the accident on a journey from Burnley to Blackburn, the hearing was told. A signal responding to a mobile phone mast also placed it in the vicinity of Dalton Close, police told the inquest...

Outside the inquest, DCI Hunter said... 'It is fair to say that limitations of the six-month rule to prepare any charges for careless driving has prevented us from prosecuting the person who we believe was responsible'."

On 16 July 2007, the BBC reported on the inquest thus:

"A coroner has recorded a verdict of accidental death at the inquest of a seven-year-old girl who was killed by a car which was then driven off."
Olivia's mother said:
"Somebody killed my little girl and just drove off... Whoever is responsible for this should be made to pay. We will never give up fighting for justice."
Her grandmother said:
"Whoever did this is a complete coward. We will never forgive them, they have ruined our lives. The fact that there has been no prosecution means we have had no justice, so how are we supposed to move on?"
Justice ladies?

In this day and age? With the PC Crowd in charge? You'll have to take your country back from those who care more for your average Urdu-speaking child-killer than they do for the little English girl he killed, before you get justice in this country, I'm afraid.

No, there'll be no justice for Olivia, I'm afraid.
There'll be no justice for the 'coward' who killed her either. Not until the British take their country back from those who stole it.

This is Waqas Mahmood:

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