A PROFESSIONAL crime network was behind a conspiracy which led to the death of a great grandmother killed by a cash for crash gang, a court heard.
A judge said there was evidence that four men involved in the death of an 88-year-old Leeds woman were part of a wider crime group specialising in fraudulent crash injury claims.
Mr Justice Goss made the comments as he sentenced the men over the death of Betty Laird.
He said: “It was a network of people involved in pursuit of fraudulent claims, including the necessary mechanical, medical and legal participants.
“It was a disturbing but clear picture of concerted fraud.
“These were premeditated offences with a significant degree of planning and sophistication.”
The judge jailed the defendants to a total of 37 and a half years.
Two of the men, Sabbir Hussain, 25, and Raja Hussain, 31, were found guilty of manslaughter.
Mrs Laird suffered fatal injuries when the Renault Kangoo she was a passenger in was struck on Old Lane, Beeston, Leeds, on September 10, 2014.
A VW Passat was driven into the side of the Kangoo in order to make fraudulent injury compensation claims from insurance companies.
A third man, Shahrear Islam-Miah, 26, was found not guilty of manslaughter but all three defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud.
Raja Hussain, of Trentham Grove, Beeston, Leeds, was sentenced to 15 years.
Sabbir Hussain, of no fixed address, was given a 12 year sentence.
Islam-Miah, of George Street, Oldham, was sentenced to four years.
Muhammed Ubaidullah, 24, of Bentinck Road had already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, conspiracy to commit fraud and attempting to pervert the court of justice.
He was jailed for six and a half years.
Sabbir Hussain is currently serving a seven year prison for possession of a handgun and ammunition.
The weapon was found after a car was stopped by police in September 2015 in Leeds.
Describing the impact of Mrs Laird’s death on her family, the judge said: “To be killed for reasons of callous, dishonest, financial greed has shocked them and is shocking.
“Her family will have to live with that for the rest of their lives.
“The motive for the collision was purely and simply the pursuit of fraudulent claims.
“Such conduct is clearly reprehensible and calls for a longer sentence.”
Mrs Laird was in the vehicle with her friend Jeff Grimshaw, 77, at the time of the incident.
She suffered multiple injuries in the collision and died later that evening.
Mr Grimshaw died later of causes unrelated to the collision.
Ubaidullah signed an agreement with police during the investigation to give evidence against the other defendants.
Ubaidullah’s barrister, Nick Worsley, said his client would now be a “marked man” in prison as a result of giving evidence against them at trial
He said: “He is in fear and terrified at the prospect of what will happen to him.”
The judge returned verdicts after taking the highly unusual step of dismissing the jury part way through the trial after some jurors were offered bribes.
There had been a series of events after jurors left the court building, on Oxford Row, in Leeds city centre.
Three jurors were walking together near to the city centre when they were each offered £500 by a woman to return guilty verdicts in the case.
In an earlier incident the court building had to be evacuated after an “act of vandalism” then the glass panel of a fire alarm had been smashed.
As jurors from the manslaughter trial were gathered outside the building, some noticed a man drive slowly past in a car and appear to film them.