Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 13:03 UK

Runaway driver admits killing boy

Hannah Saaf
Hannah Saaf was found sleeping rough in a tractor shed near Bristol

A woman who went into hiding for nine days after driving into a boy on a pavement in Bristol, has admitted causing his death.

Hannah Saaf, 27, of St Michael's Hill in Kingsdown, Bristol, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, at the city's crown court.

Sam Riddall, 11, was killed in May as he walked along a pavement in Westbury-on-Trym with three other children.

His parents said the months since his death had been "incredibly painful".

'Awful tragedy'

In a written statement Rachel and Martin Riddall said: "The last three months have been an incredibly painful and difficult time, we miss our lovely Sam so much.

"Sam asked the big questions of life and we had lots of opportunity to talk with him about heaven.

"Knowing that he is there now and that we will see him again one day gives us great hope and we continue to cling to our faith in a loving God to help us make sense of this awful tragedy."

Sam Riddall
Sam Riddall was killed while walking home from a youth club

At Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday, mother-of-two Saaf spoke only to confirm her name and plead guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Witnesses had said they saw the car mount the pavement and hit the group of children, who were going home from a church youth club.

Saaf, a mother of twins, fled the scene after the crash sparking a police search for her.

Although she was the registered owner of the car, it was not clear whether she was driving the white Ford Focus at the time.

Sleeping rough

Sam's parents Rachel and Martin Riddall appealed for Saaf to hand herself into the police.

She was found sleeping rough in a tractor shed at Pensford near Bristol on 10 May, nine days after the crash.

Judge Tom Crowther QC adjourned sentencing to 27 November for psychiatric reports to be prepared.

Defending counsel Ian Kelcey said Saaf "was undergoing inpatient treatment at a mental health establishment" and Judge Crowther told the court a hospital disposal order could be considered.

No pleas were entered on charges of failing to stop at an accident, failing to report an accident, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance, but the Crown Prosecution Service said they would remain open and on file.

Speaking outside court Det Ch Insp Gary Stephens said: "Certainly I am pleased we got one guilty plea but we've still got some loose ends to tie up."

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