Family devastated by hit-and-run boy's death

The parents of a boy killed when a car mounted the pavement as he walked home from a church youth service described yesterday their devastation at the loss of their "loveable boy".

Sam Riddall, 11, died after the car ploughed into him and his friends on Friday evening in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. Sam was walking with three other children and an adult man at around 9.15pm, after leaving a nearby church youth club service.

A white Ford Focus estate car was travelling towards the centre of the village when it careered off the road, mounted the pavement and hit the group. The three other children, all thought to be aged 11, were uninjured while the man, the father of one of Sam's friends, received minor injuries and was released from hospital later that evening.

A police hunt for a female driver who fled the scene of the incident was continuing last night.

Inspector Pearson said: "The family are absolutely devastated by what has happened and our thoughts are with them at this time," he said.

"A dog handler was brought into follow the steps of the driver but that trail was lost.

"We are not giving out information at this time as to how the car was being driven and we will be looking at a range of potential offences.

"We are asking for two things, firstly for any witnesses who saw the accident or the driver running away to come forward.

"Secondly, anybody that knows this woman or of her whereabouts is asked to contact police.

"If anyone has any idea where this driver is please get in touch."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Avon and Somerset Constabulary on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.