Heroin Addict Admits Glasgow Hit And Run
31 March 2015, 15:40
A heroin addict's admitted killing an 11 year-old schoolgirl in a hit and run in Glasgow.
Christopher Hannah was high on drugs when his car mounted the pavement and hit Sophie Brannan in Maryhill last November.
Hannah also left Sophie's 10 year-old friend and the other girl's uncle badly hurt.
The 33 year-old fled the scene, but later called a friend to say he had been driving like a "madman" and had hit someone.
However, Hannah added: "Watch the news - police have fitted me up."
He was later arrested and on Tuesday pled guilty to Sophie's culpable homicide at the High Court in Glasgow.
The dad-of-three, who already has a lengthy criminal record, is now behind bars and will be sentenced next month.
Sophie's family, including her father Graham, were in court to hear the details of her death.
Sophie had been with a young friend and the other girl's 36 year-old uncle in the city's Sandbank Street on November 14.
It is thought they had all been making their way back from local shops.
The court heard that Hannah was driving a hired Vauxhall Astra in the area and lost control.
He then fully mounted the pavement before hitting the gable end of a nearby building.
However, the car continued to career forward, eventually ploughing into Sophie and the two people with her from behind.
Prosecutor Allan Nicol said: "This caused them to be thrown onto the bonnet, windscreen and roof of the vehicle before falling onto the ground."
Another motorist witnessed the crash and immediately turned back to help.
More witnesses then saw Hannah speed onto nearby Maryhill Road with his badly dented car being 'driven erratically'.
He then crashed into a taxi - the cabbie decided to tail Hannah, who eventually stopped a short distance away.
Mr Nicol added: "At that point, the accused was trying to pull the damaged front bumper then he stopped and walked away before starting to run off.
"Both the taxi driver and his passengers noticed that he was under the influence of some substance."
Emergency services who arrived on the scene found Sophie lying on the pavement.
She was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill where she was found to have swelling to her brain, several fractures and broken bones.
The schoolgirl remained in intensive care overnight, but was pronounced dead on the morning on November 15.
The court heard the other young girl hit suffered a serious leg break which will require long term physiotherapy.
She continues to wear a cast several months on from the tragedy.
Mr Nicol added: "She also suffers episodes of withdrawal and angry outbursts.
"She is due to attend for psychiatric assessment in order to come to terms with her injuries and the loss of Sophie."
The other girl's uncle also suffered a number of fractures, but was initially released from hospital two days later.
However, he eventually required surgery and it is likely he will have “long term restriction” in movement to his right shoulder.
Police discovered the Astra had been hired in Hannah's name on October 14.
The court then heard that shortly after the accident, police searched the home of Hannah's partner, where he had been staying.
Mr Nicol said tin foil wraps with signs of drugs use were discovered.
The prosecutor told the court: "On the day in question, she suspected he had been taking heroin as she was aware he is heroin dependent."
The partner revealed Hannah had come home earlier that night 'in shock'.
Hannah had claimed he had hit someone, but did not know who. The killer said he was going to a house in the city's southside, but would return.
Police were at the house when Hannah then called his girlfriend.
She handed the phone to an officer and Hannah said: "I'm sorry - I didn't mean to do it.
"It was a total accident. I lost control of the car and I panicked. I'm going to hand myself in tonight."
However, in the early hours of November 17, Hannah turned up a house in the city's Mount Florida, but those inside decided to call police.
Officers turned up and arrested Hannah, who initially tried to escape.
He was later searched and eight grammes of heroin were discovered inside his boxer shorts.
The court heard how the occupants of the Mount Florida property later told police Hannah had called them on the night of the killing.
Hannah said at the time: "There's been an accident - watch the news. The police have fitted me up.
"I tried to get away and I have hit something. I don't know what."
Mr Nicol told the court: "He went on to say he had 'driven like a madman' and that the something he had hit could have been a wheelie bin....but he didn't hang about to find out."
Hannah had later asked to stay for a while as the police were after him 'because he had killed a wee lassie'.
Accident investigators later concluded Hannah was solely to blame for what happened.
It was stated he took “a conscious decision” to drive while impaired.
They added the reason for him not stopping was because he knew he had taken drugs and was aware of the ramifications.
As well as culpable homicide, Hannah also pled guilty to dangerous driving, attempting to defeat the ends of justice and possessing heroin.
It emerged he already had 14 previous convictions for crimes including having an offensive weapon and road traffic charges.
He was also on bail at the time having been freed from Glasgow's Justice of the Peace Court two months before the crash.
Hannah's advocate Thomas Ross today/yesterday said: "He has asked to state publicly his apologies for those affected by this terrible tragedy."
Lord Bannatyne remanded Hannah in custody and deferred sentencing until May 5 in Livingston.
Sophie's family were too upset to comment after the case.