Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Hit-and-run child killer detained


Police helicopter footage shows the arrest of Hannah Saaf

A driver who fled the scene after mounting the pavement and killing an 11-year-old boy has been detained indefinitely in hospital.

Hannah Saaf, 28, of St Michael's Hill in Kingsdown, Bristol, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Bristol Crown Court in September.

Sam Riddall was killed in May as he walked with friends in Westbury-on-Trym on his way home from a church.

Saaf went on the run for nine days, sparking a huge police manhunt.

The Bristol University law graduate had been travelling at at least 61mph (98km/h) in a 30mph zone, behind the wheel of a white Ford Focus.

Hannah Saaf
Hannah Saaf was on the run for nine days

But it emerged that in February this year the DVLA had revoked Saaf's licence over concerns about her mental health.

Sentencing Saaf, Judge Simon Darwall-Smith said: "You were clearly under the influence of cannabis, and you were doing so while driving twice the speed limit allowed.

"Finally, you left the scene having killed the victim.

"There's no sentence a court can pass that will ever compensate for a tragic loss such as this."

He said were it not for Saaf's mental state she would have faced "a very substantial custodial sentence".

Saaf, a mother-of-two, received an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act, as well as a restriction order.

Sam Riddall
Eleven-year-old Sam Riddall was killed while walking home from church

Speaking outside the court, Sam's father Martin Riddall said: "In four days time we celebrate Christmas - the first Christmas without our Sam.

"It's going to be very hard indeed because we still miss him very much."

The devout Christian added he would ask God to forgive Saaf for her "terrible" act.

Police said while trying to evade the hugely publicised search, Saaf only slept in a bed once.

After the fatal crash on Eastfield Road, Saaf was spotted in St Paul's, Lodge Causeway, Fishponds and Keynsham.

CCTV footage showed Saaf in Keynsham, near Bristol, on 4 May.

It was when a farmer found her sleeping rough in a tractor shed at Pensford, about two miles south of Bristol, that the search came to an end.

Sam Riddall's father, Martin spoke after the sentence

The farmer's 999 call on 10 May started a dramatic police hunt involving a helicopter, dogs, cars and officers, and ended in Saaf's arrest.

In a statement handed to police, Saaf said: "Since I've had the accident I've been alone and very scared.

"I'm deeply upset with the loss of Sam's life, as a mother myself I feel greatly for his parents.

"I feel deep remorse and am very sorry for what has happened."

Saaf pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, driving not in accordance with a licence, failing to stop at an accident, failing to report an accident and driving without insurance.

She was also banned from driving for five years.

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