Boy, 15, sentenced for killing seven-year-old girl while speeding on stolen motorbike

23 May 2024, 06:37 | Updated: 23 May 2024, 09:27

A teenager who hit and killed a seven-year-old girl while riding a stolen motorbike has been sentenced to 64 months detention.

Katniss Seleznev was thrown around 20 metres when she was hit as the boy, who cannot be named due to his age, rode a blue Suzuki motorbike at around 52mph on Turnstone Road, Walsall, on the evening of 27 July last year.

The schoolgirl was riding a pink three-wheeled scooter outside her home with her twin brother and older sister when she was hit on the 30mph residential road, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard on Wednesday.

The teen, who is now 15 but was 14 at the time of the fatal crash, did not stop at the scene but went to a nearby road before hiding the bike, which was later found burnt in some bushes.

Following his arrest, the boy gave no comment answers in interview, but pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court in April.

A witness told police the motorbike, being ridden by a boy with his hood up and his face covered by a balaclava, narrowly avoided crashing into her vehicle as the bike travelled on the wrong side of the road towards her.

Collision investigators said there were no obvious signs the rider had tried to brake before hitting Katniss.

Katniss's mother Lina, who listened to proceedings through a Bulgarian interpreter, cried quietly as CCTV images showing her children riding their scooters in the street were played before a clip showing her youngest daughter flying through the air after the collision.

Judge Michael Chambers KC, Recorder of Wolverhampton, said he could not begin to imagine the impact Katniss's death has had on her parents and siblings as a result of the "appalling" crash.

He sentenced the teenager to serve half of a 64-month sentence in detention before being released on licence.

'You didn't even stop to help'

"This was, as you now appreciate, an appalling offence, aggravated by the fact you didn't even stop to help but rode on and you sought to dispose of the motorbike, presumably to try and frustrate the police investigation," he said.

"It was a motorbike that was stolen some weeks prior and because of your age, you shouldn't have been driving at all.

"There is no suggestion you braked and Katniss had no chance. It is fair to say that you were upset after the collision and I accept you are remorseful, but it was the police who came to you, not the other way round."

The teenager had been previously convicted of taking a vehicle without the owner's consent, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, and had been given a referral order.

Defending, Robert Cowley said the boy had a difficult upbringing and was developmentally immature for his age, but by entering a guilty plea he had shown remorse.

The teenager looked solemn, dressed in a blue hooded top and black trousers, and kept his head down during proceedings.

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'Time isn't going to heal this loss'

Katniss was described by her father Bojil as "full of joy" and a "dream child", in a statement read to the court.

It added that Katniss and her twin brother were born after the couple "fought for five years" through multiple miscarriages and IVF rounds.

"God finally gave them to us. Then Katniss was left to die like an animal in the street," the statement said.

"Time isn't going to heal this loss. We shouldn't have outlived our child."