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The parent of a one-year-old daughter who was fatally hit by an out of control vehicle vows to continue advocating for a revision in the legal system, as the driver was not held accountable due to a technicality.
In August 2017, Pearl Black was fatally injured when a Range Rover rolled down a private driveway and struck a garden wall, which then fell on her as she was walking to a park in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.
During a 2018 investigation, it was revealed that the handbrake on the 2.6-tonne car had only been applied at two out of six notches. This was not enough to keep the car secure on the steep driveway.
The driver will not face criminal charges, as determined by the Crown Prosecution Service. After the inquest, it was stated that the evidence did not meet the necessary standards for a prosecution to be pursued.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on November 29, six years after the tragedy, Rishi Sunak extended assistance to local MP Gerald Jones and Pearl’s family in their efforts to amend the legislation.
In an interview with The Independent, Paul, Pearl’s father, expressed his determination to push for a change in the law. He also expressed his hope that any revisions made would be named in honor of his 22-month-old daughter.
The actor, aged 55, who was a contestant on BBC’s The Voice in 2014, expressed that he never wishes for any other family to experience the suffering and distress they have endured.
He stated that they will continue to fight and that there will never be a resolution for them. They will always carry the burden of the injustice, but their goal is to stop this tragic situation from happening to other families.
The death of Pearl and the absence of any legal action has caused us great chaos and devastation. It has completely disrupted our lives and we are longing for something positive to emerge from this situation.
Earlier, Mr Black was at his mother’s residence when he departed with Pearl to take a stroll to a nearby park. However, while walking on the sidewalk, he witnessed a Range Rover crashing into a wall, which then fell onto his daughter, who was still holding his hand.
Mr. Black frantically attempted to remove pieces of the wall that had collapsed onto her body, but she unfortunately passed away in the hospital. Her father shared, “I cannot stop thinking about what happened, it consumes me every minute of every day.”
During Pearl’s inquest, it was revealed that the Range Rover’s gear was placed between park and reverse, causing the vehicle to roll down the driveway as it was in neutral. The coroner, Andrew Barkley, determined the cause of death to be accidental and attributed it to driver error.
Mr. Jones addressed Parliament three years ago regarding a private bill to amend the law. He stated that the CPS was unable to bring the case to court due to a loophole in the Road Traffic Act of 1988, which requires the vehicle to have started its journey on a public road for a prosecution to be possible.
“Despite Pearl’s death occurring on a public road, the inability to prove that the vehicle originated from a private drive has prevented any legal action from being taken.”
“If there is a possibility of amending this law to ensure that no one else experiences this unfair treatment, it may offer some solace.”
On November 29th, Mr. Sunak expressed his apologies regarding Pearl’s situation. He extended his condolences and assured that both he and the entire house stand with Gemma (Pearl’s mother) and Paul during this difficult time. He also promised to arrange a meeting between Mr. Jones and the appropriate minister to discuss legislation as soon as possible.
The Crown Prosecution Service has been requested for a statement.