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Boy killed in collision with car 'driven at twice the speed limit'

Published 15/08/2016

Henry Barker denies causing death by dangerous driving
Henry Barker denies causing death by dangerous driving

An 11-year-old boy was knocked down and killed in front of his father as he left a Greater Manchester mosque by a teenage driver travelling at more than double the speed limit, a court has heard.

Shahzaib Hussain was hit by the Mercedes A-Class being driven by Henry Barker, then 19, who had been driving along the narrow back street in Ashton-under-Lyne at more than 40mph before fleeing from the scene.

Schoolboy Shahzaib had been attending afternoon prayers at the Hamza Mosque on Mowbray Street with his father Javid Hussain and his uncle when he was involved in the collision on Moss Street West.

Prosecutors said that footage of the collision taken from a camera positioned on the side of the mosque will be played to jurors at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court in order to show Barker's "culpability".

During the trial, Shahzaib's parents, who were sat in the public gallery, dabbed their eyes with handkerchiefs as details of the collision were outlined by the prosecution.

The court was told that Barker, now 20, and of Failsworth, Greater Manchester, who has denied causing death by dangerous driving, had been travelling at speeds of up to 45mph moments before the collision on February 29.

As Shahzaib crossed the 20mph residential road, he was hit by the front nearside of the vehicle before being thrown into the air.

Opening the case, prosecutor Michael Morley said that one witness had described how shortly before the collision he had witnessed Barker "swerving" to avoid parked cars.

Mr Morley said: "We say that the defendant was not just exceeding the speed limit in the way he was driving on a narrow back street, but his driving can properly be described as dangerous.

"Whilst there is no dispute that the defendant was aware that he had just struck a pedestrian, he did not stop at the scene and drove away."

He added: "Mr Talal Raja, he was sitting in his vehicle outside West End Autos on Moss Street West, he was sitting there in his car when his attention was drawn to the defendant's vehicle approaching.

"He was immediately concerned about the manner of the defendant's driving as from his view, not only was he clearly speeding but swerving to miss parked cars on the street."

Mr Morley told jurors that Barker had entered a guilty plea to causing death through careless driving at a previous hearing.

But he added that Barker had disputed that his driving was dangerous.

Barker was to hand himself into police the day after the collision where he was to tell police that the boy had "run out of nowhere" and he had panicked after the collision, the jury heard.

The damaged car was later found at his grandfather's farm.

In interview and in a prepared statement, Barker claimed that in his mind he had not been speeding at the time of the collision, and that in his view, he had been unable to avoid the collision.

Mr Morley told jurors that it was not disputed that the youngster had stepped into the road .

Mr Morley added: "It's accepted that Shahzaib stepped into the road and he was hit by the front nearside of the defendant's vehicle before he was thrown some distance and he sustained injuries that were to prove fatal."

A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) forensic collision investigator used the CCTV footage to determine that the defendant's minimum average speed at the junction with Mowbray Street had been 40.8mph.

Jurors were told that the vehicle's fitted telematics system had recorded 45.92mph close to West End Autos.

Mr Morley continued: "We would say that the risk of pedestrians, particularly children, emerging from behind parked cars, is an obvious one and indeed is one of the very reasons that some residential streets, just like this one, are designated as 20mph zones."

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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