A learner driver who crashed and killed a nine-year-old child during her first lesson was jailed for two years on Wednesday.

Beatrice Mawamba, 34, panicked during the lesson with her husband and careered off the road, crashing down some steps and hitting the girl in a children's play area.

The mother-of-three's car also injured two others in Leeds in May.

It was the first time Mawamba had been behind the wheel of a car and she was profoundly ignorant of even basic driving skills, Leeds Crown Court heard.

She did not know how to apply the brake pedal; she could not find the brake pedal; she did not know where it was or what purpose it served, judge Peter Openshaw said during sentencing, according to the Press Association.

A prison sentence is necessary to impress upon others that driving a car without having any idea how to control it is seriously anti-social and presents a substantial risk to the public.

Prosecutor Michael Smith said witnesses heard the engine revving and saw the car bunny hopping before veering out of control and crashing down the steps of a narrow alleyway.

The defendant described the car going very fast and her husband telling her to brake but she did not know how to. Her husband also tried to stop the car but couldn't, Smith told the court.

Mawamba admitted causing death by dangerous driving. She was also banned from driving for five years. Defence lawyer Graham Parkin said she was remorseful and extremely distressed by the death of nine-year-old Shamirah Grant.

She wishes, of course, she could turn back the clock, Parkin added.

In a statement, the girl's parents, Gary and Jennifer Grant, said they had forgiven Mawamba and her husband.

We appreciate that such a terrible event was not intentional. We have not sought to influence the sentencing of the court in any way, they said.

(Reporting by Peter Griffiths)