Pregnant woman death: Driver jailed
A man whose dangerous driving caused the death of a pregnant woman as he tried to outrun pursuing police has been jailed for a total of 10 years.
Javad Malik, 26, killed newlywed Ahtia Tabasim, 28, when his Renault Laguna ploughed into the back of her car in the Saltley area of Birmingham in January.
Malik had undertaken other cars, driven towards oncoming traffic and raced at speeds of up to 105mph in the moments before the crash as he sought to evade police. He was carrying drugs in a tin on the back seat of his car worth £12,580.
In his victim impact statement, her husband Badar Zaman said: "All the things I always wanted in life or have been interested in mean nothing to me now, without Ahtia. I'm just waiting for my time to come so that God can reunite us." Reading aloud the statement at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge William Davis QC concluded by telling Malik: "That is what you did (to her family)." He added that the sentence he imposed "will not begin to bring back" Mrs Tabasim.
For causing death by dangerous driving, Malik was jailed for seven years, with a further three years to be served consecutively for two counts of possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply. There was no separate penalty for possession of cannabis, driving without insurance or a licence.
Madhu Rai, prosecuting, said CCTV cameras on businesses along the one-mile route of the police pursuit showed Malik driving vastly in excess of the 30mph speed limit. At one point he was taking speed bumps at such a pace that "clouds of dust" were being thrown up from the back of his car, she added. Specialist police crash investigators were able to establish his speed, recorded just seconds before the crash which killed carer Mrs Tabasim, was "about 56mph".
As Malik sped along Landor Street, he pulled out from behind her Ford Fiesta to overtake, but was forced to veer back because of an oncoming car and ploughed into the back of Mrs Tabasim's vehicle. Miss Rai said: "That caused the Fiesta to veer uncontrollably across the opposite side of the road. It then went into the path of the Audi - that was a heavy impact." As Mrs Tabasim remained in her car, fatally injured, Malik drove on for another 30 yards, then got out and ran towards two children who were standing nearby. "The defendant told the two children that the police were after him and he needed to hide," said Miss Rai. He asked the youngsters to get the drugs from his car for a £50 reward - "naturally they declined", and later told police what he had done.
Kristina Montgomery, in mitigation, said Malik was "full of remorse" for the consequences of his actions and had only fallen under the influence of drugs later "in a very short decline" after a trouble-free upbringing. "He fell into the company of drugs, he began to take drugs and fell into debt as a result," she added. "The fear of being caught with these drugs, through this relatively short pursuit, caused the death of Mrs Tabasim - he is deeply sorry for that." She added: "He offers an apology to the family - he feels, every day, their pain."
The court was told a post-mortem examination carried out on Mrs Tabasim revealed she died from chest injuries and found her unborn child "appeared to be male and was fully formed". Judge Davis told Malik that, down the years, when sentencing others for dangerous driving, he would always remind them it was "pure luck" that they had not killed someone. "It was not bad luck you killed someone - it was almost inevitable," he said. He said Malik had driven in a "grossly dangerous fashion", killing an innocent woman and her unborn child in the process, purely because he did not wish to be caught carrying "a substantial cache of class A drugs". Following sentencing, the judge addressed Mrs Tabasim's family, who were sat at the back of the court, telling them: "The court sentence cannot put a price on somebody's life. Do not think we believe this young woman's life was worth x number of years, because of this sentence - we do not. I offer you my sincerest condolences."
Outside the court, in a statement read by a police officer, Mrs Tabasim's husband said: "There can and never will be any justice for us. The only thing we have got here today is some closure on the case and, while everyone involved gets on with their lives, we continue to mourn for the remainder of ours."