A DANGEROUS driver whose "arrogant disregard" for road rules caused the death of schoolgirl Ruby Cropper has been jailed for five years.

The 11-year-old was seriously injured after she was hit by a Suzuki Alto on New Road, Radcliffe, on August 10, 2020 and died later in hospital.

Driver Andrew Cairns, 36, was found guilty by a Manchester Crown Court jury of causing death by dangerous driving.

Her mother Shelley Booth, in a victim impact statement, said: "No sentence will ever be long enough for the pain he had caused me and my family."

She added: "If anyone deserved to be happy it was Ruby."

The court heard from brother Ryan Veitch and her father Ian Cropper how Ruby was a young girl who "brought joy and happiness to all who knew her"

Her death, the court heard, could have been avoided had Cairns not been travelling so fast.

Cairns, of Rupert Street, Radcliffe, had admitted to causing death by careless driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident but denied causing death by dangerous driving, a more serious charge which carries a more severe penalty.

He was found guilty of the more serious charge by a jury on January 20 after five hours of deliberations.

Prosecutor Jamie Baxter told the Manchester court how Cairns had performed overtaking manoeuvres along New Road and was caught on camera going at 38mph, despite the route having a 30mph speed limit.

Ruby would have been hit a speed of "not less than" 44mph, the court was told.

She travelled 14 metres from the point of impact to the point of landing and died of her injuries in hospital two days later.

According to Sgt Laura Drew, of Greater Manchester Police’s serious collision investigation unit, who gave evidence during the trial, the collision could have been avoided if Cairns had stuck to the speed limit.

Mr Baxter added: "Put simply, she would have been further along the carriageway and out of harm's way."

During his initial police interview, Cairns claimed he had tried to brake heavily. But CCTV footage found he made “no attempt to stop” after the collision.

Defence counsel Michael Johnson admitted Cairns' offences were "difficult to deal with" but said his client had eventually phoned the police and, by pleading guilty to careless driving, admitted he was responsible for Ruby's death.

Judge Timothy Smith paid tribute to Ruby and her family and, while sentencing, condemned Cairns for his "arrogant disregard for other people's safety."

Cairns was also banned from driving for seven years.