The family of a 17-year-old girl killed by a dangerous driver have branded his prison sentence "a joke".Another tale of a family mourning the loss of an innocent party, wiped out by a careless driver?
Well. Not quite.
Banned Zahoor Hussain was driving his dad's Mini Cooper at 50mph on a 30mph road when he lost control and caused the death of his friend and back-seat passenger Zoe Smith, above.Hmmm….
Hussain, 25, of Oaklands Drive in Almondsbury, had already racked up three previous convictions for driving while disqualified yet still got behind the wheel while serving a drink-drive ban, on September 6, 2010.Well, his punishment will be all the greater for…
At Bristol Crown Court, Recorder of Bristol Judge Neil Ford QC jailed Hussain for 32 months and disqualified him from driving for five more years. But as he has already served 126 days, Hussain could be released on licence in about 14 months, when half his term is up.Now, I can see why the relatives would be upset about that. But let’s not forget their daughter wasn’t kidnapped, but got into the car voluntarily:
After the hearing, Zoe's mum Karen Pope, 41, told the Evening Post: "I think the sentence is a joke."Well, no. But you know what might have helped keep her safe, in a speeding vehoicle? How about a seatbelt…
Her dad David Smith, 44, added: "It doesn't matter how long he goes to jail for – it's not going to bring our Zoe back."
Prosecuting, James Ward told how on the night in question Hussain had borrowed his dad's car, picked up his friend Afzal Hussain, then went to pick up Zoe from her home on Kingsmead Road, Speedwell. None of the three was wearing seatbelts, the court heard./facepalm
Described as a "beautiful angel" in one tribute, Zoe's family said the pain of losing her "bubbly" presence has not eased at all in the 14 months since the crash. They were shocked to hear for the first time, in court, about Hussain's previous driving bans and convictions.I wonder if Zoe was similarly unaware of her chum’s criminal record?
Mr Smith said: "We would urge everyone who gets in a car to wear a seatbelt. It may have prevented Zoe from losing her life."