Young man who killed his friends in high-speed car jailed for six years as he turns 18
Published 15/07/2016 | 17:30
A teenager "high on cannabis" who killed three of his friends in a horror sports car smash after reaching speeds of up to 120mph has been jailed for six years on the day of his 18th birthday.
Arayeb Saqib, who was 17 at the time and did not hold a driving licence, had got behind the wheel of a hired super performance Audi S5 with his four friends hours after they had attended a family wedding.
Saqib, who turned 18 today, bowed his head in the dock as he was told that his driving during the early hours of April 27 had been the "worst case of causing death by dangerous driving" that the sentencing judge at Manchester Crown Court had ever encountered, after the teenager led police on a high speed chase through South Manchester.
The court heard that three of his passengers, Hamza Iqbal, 24, Mohammad Hamza Gujjar, 21, and Munib Karim, 20, were all fatal victims of the smash whilst a fourth Suhaib Aziz, 19, "miraculously" survived the collision - albeit with serious injurious.
Mr Karim, whose sister's wedding had taken place only hours earlier, died in hospital the following day.
At the scene, Saqib who emerged from the car on his hands and knees, denied that he was the driver when asked by the perusing police officer, responding to him, "I don't know mate".
He was later to tell the sister of Mr Karim at the memorial site where she had been lighting candles for her brother, that he was "really sorry" and that he had taken cannabis before getting into the car.
Judge David Stockdale QC said Saqib's "truly appalling driving" had been motivated by a "selfish wish for self-preservation" and desire to impress his older friends.
At an earlier hearing, Saqib, who had not been at the wedding, pleaded guilty to three charges of causing death by dangerous driving and one charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
In opening the case, prosecutor Gavin Howie said the white Audi was witnessed by a police patrol car driving "out of control", describing the car as "fishtailing" as it travelled in the opposite direction to the officer.
When the officer activated his sirens the Audi sped up to speeds of around 70mph along the 30 and 40mph road before disappearing from sight.
Mr Howie told the court: "The truth is he never really got close to it."
The court heard that at the point of impact in Wilbraham Road, the car had been traveling at no less than 68mph and had become "airborne", effectively lifting from the ground as a consequence of the camber in the road.
The officer was to say that he himself had reached speeds of 85mph but was still 20 seconds behind the Audi.
The court heard that Saqib was to tell a friend he had been travelling at speeds of up to 120mph while falsely telling a nurse that he had been a rear seat passenger - but had witnessed the speedometer at 120mph.
At the scene, the Audi, which had collided with a street sign and parked cars and came to rest in a garden leaving gouges in the road, was described as "severely deformed".
Two men were pronounced dead at the scene - one having been thrown from the window.
During the hearing it emerged that the car had been falsely rented using the name of one of the passengers' brothers and that no-one in the vehicle had the authority or the insurance to drive it.
Mr Brendan O'Leary defending, said Saqib had accepted that his driving was "extremely poor" and well in excess of the legal limit and that he had smoked a small of amount of drugs.
He added that Saqib had apologised to the victims' families.
"He took it upon himself to go to the house where he knew the bereaved families were, he sat down in a room and told them. He will live with this for the rest of his life."
In passing sentence, Mr Stockdale QC told Saqib: "You had no authority whatsoever to drive that car. It was inconceivable that you would have ever have been given the authority to drive a high performance car.
"You drove it no doubt for fun. In all probability to impress them. You had been smoking cannabis. You told Munib Karim's sister that you were high on cannabis."
He added that Saqib sought to escape the police by driving at such speeds and that, after losing control of the car that was "beyond his capacity", had careered for a "long distance" before coming to its resting position.
Mr Stockdale said: "You were trying to get away to save yourself, an act of selfishness on your part. Your concern was to save yourself."