A senior detective in the hit and run case which killed a four-year-old girl and left her grandmother in hospital has appealed for one of the suspects to “search his conscience” after it emerged he had fled the country.
Det Chief Insp Chris Sephton said that one of the men pictured fleeing the scene was no longer in the country.
He also revealed witnesses reported seeing the stolen car which hit Violet-Grace and her grandmother Angela French was speeding at between 60 and 70mph before going through a red light close.
Det Chief Insp Sephton also paid tribute to Violet-Grace’s family, who today released images of the youngster and Angela.
“They have been so nice and so thankful to the hospital staff,” he said.
“The family have made the most difficult decision they will ever have to face and they have still found the strength to make the decision to help other families (by donating Violet-Grace’s kidney and pancreas).
“Compare that to the two individuals who fled from the scene of the crash and I think you have say that they need to search their conscience.”
Violet-Grace and her grandmother were crossing Prescot Road in St Helens at around 3pm when they were hit by the stolen black Ford Fiesta.
The vehicle was stolen from Liverpool on March 19 and was being used by the two men the day before the tragedy in the Prescot, Whiston, Huyton and St Helens areas.
Police also say a third man was in the car shortly before the incident and was dropped off in St Helens town centre.
The car then sped up Prescot Road, with witnesses telling police it reached speeds of up to 70mph before going through a red light and hitting Violet-Grace and 55-year-old Angela.
The car then smashed into a lamppost, with the two occupants emerging apparently unscathed and fleeing the scene on foot.
Det Chief Insp Sephton said one of the men captured on CCTV - seen wearing a royal blue t-shirt and shorts - had now left the country in a bid to evade justice.
He added: “The community has been fantastic. We have had lots and lots of phone calls. Some with good information and some with not so good information, but all of it made in good faith.”
Two men have been arrested. One aged 23 has been released on police bail pending further inquiries, while a 27-year-old man has been arrested today on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and serious injury by dangerous driving. He remains in police custody.
Witnesses should call police on 0151 777 6041.