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Melissa Tate: Hit-and-run girl's family 'wake up heartbroken'

image copyrightFamily photo
image captionMelissa Tate's family will mark her death by releasing balloons

The mother of a 10-year-old girl who died after a hit-and-run say her family "still wake up heartbroken" a year on.

Melissa Tate was struck by an unlicensed driver in Newcastle on 25 September 2019 and died in hospital the following day.

Connor Marsden was estimated to have been travelling at 47mph (75kph) in a 20mph (32 kph) zone.

The 24-year-old was jailed for seven years and four months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

Melissa, known as Missy, was playing with friends in a residential area of Kenton when she was knocked down.

'Never able to forgive'

"The past year has been awful and it doesn't get any better with time. You just learn to get on with each day, but every single day we still wake up heartbroken," her mother Kim Wilson said.

"It has been a year since I saw her smile, a year since I heard her laugh, but it still feels like yesterday."

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionMelissa and sister Lili "were joined at the hip," Ms Wilson said

The 31-year-old said she would "never, ever be able to forgive" Marsden and added the "only glimmer of hope" she can take from the situation is that other drivers may think more carefully behind the wheel after hearing Melissa's story.

Ms Wilson and Melissa's father, Michael Tate, will remember her in a private balloon release on Sunday along with Melissa's sister, Lili, and Ms Wilson's baby son.

"We have had to watch as Melissa's friends have gone on to high school and it just makes us think about the fact Melissa should be wearing that uniform now," her mother added.

Following her death, the youngster's organs were donated to four other children.

Marsden, of Ambridge Way, Kenton, fled to Easington, County Durham, where he was arrested the day after knocking Melissa down.

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