A hit-and-run driver’s girlfriend and sister lied to police after he killed a 10-year-old child.
Connor Marsden did not stop his vehicle after mowing down Melissa Tate near her home in Kenton, Newcastle.
His girlfriend, Amanda Teulon, and sister, Stephanie McGlen, then tried to protect Marsden by lying to police about his involvement, ChronicleLive reports.
They have now been handed 12-month suspended sentences and curfews after admitting to attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Marsden was on the run when police spoke to his girlfriend and sister.
A court heard they provided false information and lied that he had not been in their company after the fatal collision in Kenton, Newcastle.
The police investigation was frustrated by the lies of the pair as officers hunted the driver who had failed to stop and abandoned his car after the crash.
Prosecutor Graham O’Sullivan told Newcastle Crown Court: “Both defendants deliberately lied to the police to protect the person they knew had been driving the car that day, which impacted the investigation at a crucial stage.
“Even when they had the opportunity after being told of Melissa Tate’s death, they chose to persist in their attempts to mislead and obstruct the investigation.”
The court heard Marsden ran to Teulon’s then home on Hillsview Avenue, Kenton, after the collision, and went in for “a matter of seconds” before coming out, followed by Teulon and McGlen.
CCTV showed Teulon get into a Vauxhall Astra – to go and check what was happening at the scene of the impact – while Marsden and McGlen looked agitated on the path.
Marsden was then seen throwing an object towards his sister, which she put in her pocket, the court heard.
When Teulon returned, the two women went inside before McGlen later left.
When the footage came to the attention of the police, they went to the house that night, believing the driver they were looking for was associated with the occupants.
Marsden was not present but Teulon told them she was aware of what had happened but then told police he had not been there that day, instead telling police only she, her children and McGlen had been present.
Mr O’Sullivan said: “She repeated the lie repeatedly when challenged about it.
“Asked if her partner had been there that day, she said no.
“The officers impressed on her the seriousness of what had happened and it made no difference at all.”
Mr O’Sullivan added: “Meanwhile McGlen came back to the address and on arrival was spoken to by officers. They said they were investigating a road traffic collision where a child had suffered serious injuries.
“She lied, saying she could not tell them anything about it.
“She was recorded on CCTV with the suspected driver but denied it was her. She forcefully protested it was not her.
“Her denials were so resilient the officer returned to the neighbouring property to view the footage again and was left in no doubt it was her.
“She continued to deny it was her.
“Several times it was explained how serious the matter was. The officer was left incredulous about how unconcerned both of them were about what had happened on the street that day.”
When police received information the driver was called “Marsey”, McGlen denied knowing anyone by that name and when told she could be convicted of perverting justice if she lied, her denials continued.
Mr O’Sullivan added: “Tragically, Melissa died the following day.
“Once the police became aware of the death of Melissa, they informed both defendants of this fact before a second interview.
“Both chose not to answer questions again and McGlen replied “nothing” when asked if there was anything she could tell the police.”
Teulon later gave a prepared statement admitting lying.
Mr O’Sullivan said: “She said her boyfriend came running into her house, hysterical shouting and screaming ‘I’ve hit someone’.
“He was crying, not making sense and she drove to the scene to see if the person was ok.
“She said when the police arrived she was upset and confused and she was not trying to protect Connor Marsden or obstruct the investigation.”
A police officer said in a statement the women’s lies had “frustrated and misled the investigation” at a crucial point when they were trying to identify and arrest the suspect and their actions wasted time and resources.
He added that Marsden was not arrested for 20 hours after the collision, meaning potential evidence, such as any drink or drugs in his system, would have been lost.
The PC said: “I’m in no doubt the actions of both defendants were to protect Marsden, which led to significant frustrations to the investigation
“Fortunately Marsden was identified by alternative inquiries but the defendants weren’t to know that.”
Teulon, 32, of Park View, Walker, Newcastle, and McGlen, 29, of St Oswald Avenue, Walker, both admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice and were both sentenced by Recorder Jonathan Aitken to 12 months suspended for two years with two month curfews.
Brian Hegarty, for mother-of-six Teulon, said she expressed remorse for the family of Melissa.
He said she “didn’t send the police chasing down an avenue that was wrong” and that “her instinct was to lie because she didn’t want to become involved as a witness in the proceedings”.
Mr Hegarty said: “Rather than a wish to assist Marsden, it was more out of fear of becoming involved that she lied to the police in the way she died, which she very much regrets.”
He added that she and McGlen had to move out of the Kenton area and taken their children out of the school they were in due to the reaction of the local community.
Fiona Lamb, for McGlen, said she was “genuinely remorseful”, accepts full responsibility for her actions and has said “it’s a total nightmare that Melissa’s family will never be able to free themselves of” and is “very much sorry for their loss”.
Miss Lamb added that she has three children, including a baby and a child who has serious health issues.
She said that having moved, there was a fire at her new home so she had to move again.
Melissa was crossing the road near her home in September 2019 when Marsden came speeding along in his van at 47mph in the 20mph residential street.
Melissa’s mum, Kim Wilson, came on the scene of the crash to find her daughter lying unconscious in the street and despite attempts to revive her, she was fatally injured.
The next day, her little sister spent her sixth birthday at Melissa’s bedside as she died from her injuries.
Marsden, who had no licence or insurance and had drunk two pints of snakebite that evening, didn’t even bother to stop at the scene, abandoning the van and fleeing Newcastle in an “appalling act of cowardice”.
He was jailed for seven years and four months for causing death by dangerous driving.