Man facing ‘substantial sentence’ over schoolgirl’s hit-and-run death

A driver has been told to expect a “substantial custodial sentence” after admitting causing the death of a 10-year-old girl in a hit-and-run crash.

Melissa Tate died in hospital a day after being struck by a Renault Kangoo which was being driven by Connor Marsden in Hillsview Avenue in Kenton, Newcastle, on September 25.

Appearing at the city’s Crown Court on Monday, the 24-year-old admitted causing the schoolgirl’s death by dangerous driving.

Prosecutors said he was estimated to have been travelling at around 47mph down the 20mph limit road, but his defence team argued that his speed was lower.

Hit and run in Newcastle
Police cars in Hillsview Avenue in Kenton, Newcastle, after the hit-and-run in which Melissa Tate was fatally injured (Henry Clare/PA)

Marsden, who appeared in court via video-link, also admitted causing death by driving while uninsured and unlicensed, both of which relate to Melissa’s death.

He also entered guilty pleas to charges of failing to stop after a road accident, failing to report an accident, driving while uninsured, and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Marsden, of Ambridge Way in Kenton, spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and pleas during the hearing.

Judge Robert Adams told him he will have to appear in person at Newcastle Crown Court when he is sentenced on December 12.

The judge said: “You have pleaded guilty to these matters. For these pleas you will get credit at the time of sentence.

“Mr Marsden, you will be produced at court for the sentencing hearing on the 12th of December. In the meantime, you are remanded in custody.

“You must understand that these are serious matters you have admitted, and it’s inevitable there will be a substantial custodial sentence.”

Melissa Tate death
Melissa Tate’s family said her organs had been donated to help sick children (Northumbria Police/PA)

Following her death, Melissa’s parents, Michael Tate and Kimberley Wilson, said the schoolgirl had saved the lives of sick children after the family decided to donate her organs.

Mr Tate said: “Melissa was a beautiful, smart, funny, cheeky and laid-back girl who had a heart of gold and not a bad bone in her body.

“She could brighten up anyone’s day and all she ever wanted to do is help people.

“Even after passing she still went on to help others by donating her organs.”

Northumbria Police revealed following Melissa’s death that she had also been a volunteer with their Mini Police scheme, which aims to promote social awareness, community spirit and to help children make good choices when they grow up.

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