STAR readers have been reacting to the sentencing of Aidan McAteer and Dean Brennan, with the vast majority saying the pair should have been jailed for longer.

McAteer, 23, was today sentenced to nine years, four months for causing death by dangerous driving. This will be served concurrently with a three year, four month sentence for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.

Brennan, 27, got six years, eight months and a six-year driving ban.

On March 24, Violet-Grace Youens, aged four, from Eccleston Park, and her nan Angela French, were hit as they crossed Prescot Road by a stolen Ford Fiesta which was being driven by McAteer at high speed.

Violet never regained consciouness after the incident, and her nan, who is 55, still faces months in hospital, and may never walk again.

On Facebook, reader Sara Chadwick says: "To say the maximum for his crime is 14 years and considering he went on the run for six days is appalling. Not only did he kill an innocent child he seriously injured her grandmother - feeble sentencing."

Jessica Elizabeth said: "He went through red lights, reached speeds of 83mph, killed a little girl, seriously injured her nan, fled the scene, went on the run and gets nine years. Unbelievable - surely they could have given him the maximum sentence for each incident?"

Tom Harris said: "Kills a little girl whilst speeding in a stolen car, has no licence or insurance, injures the poor girl's grandmother and goes on the run and all he will spend in prison is about four years? 

"Where is the justice? It's an absolute disgrace."

Simon Skidmore asked: "What does a criminal have to do to get the maximum 14 year sentence for such an offence of causing death by dangerous driving?" 

Andi Johnson said: "They drove that car like a two tonne weapon and it resulted in a death."

Nicola Greenhalgh said: "I'm devastated for Violet's family. I can't believe he got concurrent sentences given the severity of his crimes."

Chad Piaggio said: "This is no real deterrent to future wannabe car thieves."

Judge Denis Watson QC, said, when sentencing, he took into account McAteer's "grossly excessive speed", "agressve driving" and his lack of "regard for other road users".

He said: "It was a stolen car with cloned plates. You had no driving licence, no insurance, and had been driving the car around all day."

He added McAteer had claimed witnesses were lying about the speed they were going at "because of the publicity".

A 12-and-a-half year sentence was reduced to nine years, four months due to McAteer entering a gulity plea. Brennan's sentence was similarly reduced to take into account his gulity plea.