Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hit-and-run driver who mowed down and killed church-going grandmother is jailed

A hit-and-run driver who mowed down and killed a church-going grandmother while doing 70mph in a 30 zone has been jailed for nine years.

Salim Chand, 27, who had already been banned from driving, knocked over Freda Holt, 70, in a supercar as she stepped out into the narrow residential road outside her home.

Mrs Holt's husband Ray, 72, was seconds away from the scene and saw his wife's body in the road in Blackburn, Lancashire.

The driver was in a Mercedes C63 AMG he hired as an 'item of boast' for a wedding, the court heard.

Instead of stopping after the crash, Chand sped off and phoned the rental company and reported a 'minor bump' from a mile down the road.

Witnesses claimed they had seen Chand speeding at up to 100mph in the moments leading up to the crash.

The judge at Preston Crown Court said Mrs Holt 'didn't stand a chance' as he jailed the defendant who had admitted causing death by dangerous driving, perverting the course of justice and driving without a licence.

Prosecutor Paul Brookwell said there were no brake marks found on the road after he hit the retired yoga teacher and churchgoer.

He later clipped a parked car further up the 30mph road.

Chand was on bail when he knocked over Mrs Holt as she stepped into the road last November after being caught dealing £500 of cannabis from a car in Blackburn.

He also had a string of driving convictions and breaches of court orders.

Jailed: Salim Chand, 27, was told he must serve nine years behind bars by Judge Anthony Russell QC who said Mrs Holt 'didn't have a chance'

Alan Wolstenholme, defending, said his client's remorse remorse was 'genuine' and not 'self-pity' adding his character was 'not all dark'.

But as he jailed him, Judge Anthony Russell QC said: 'Your conduct in this case shows otherwise.

'Following on from what was particularly bad driving at high speed which attracted the attention of onlookers so bad was it, you ploughed into Freda Holt. She didn't have a chance.'

The defendant was also banned from driving for ten years.

A second man, Inis Panwala, 28, from Blackburn, was given six months behind barsm suspended for two years, after admitting perverting the course of justice in relation to the same offence.

After the case Mr Holt, 72, said: 'No matter what sentence he got, we will have to live with this for the rest of our life.

'How can anybody do that and just keep going, for there not to be any brake marks?

'How can you keep carrying on driving at that speed when you can't see through the windscreen?

Freda's eldest son Richard said: 'Salim Chand's actions from the moment he drove away fro our dying mother were completely self-serving.

'Chand has displayed neither remorse nor humanity and therefore deserves to be subject to the full force of the law.'

Detective Inspector Brian King said: 'Chand's actions have left a family without a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

'This case highlights the stupidity of reckless speeding, which played a huge part in this tragic incident.

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