A SHEFFIELD schoolgirl who survived a hit-and-run crash when her friend pushed her out of the way of a speeding car, sacrificing herself, has said the driver should have received longer than a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
Tia Tucker, 13, said she could not thank Jasmyn Chan enough after cocaine and cannabis user Naseeb Ellahi, 34, was jailed at Sheffield Crown Court for causing the death of the 14-year-old by dangerous driving.
The two girls were crossing Normanton Hill in Sheffield last year when Ellahi’s Honda Civic ploughed into them, leaving Jasmyn dead and the younger girl with serious injuries.
He was uninsured, had no licence, was travelling at least twice the 30mph limit and had snorted two lines of cocaine earlier in the day.
There were emotional scenes in the packed courtroom as a judge was told how Jasmyn pushed Tia, who was 12 at the time, out of the path of the car, probably saving her life.
The judge - Recorder of Sheffield Judge Julian Goose QC - said Jasmyn’s actions were a “remarkable act of bravery” and her mother, Paula McCullie, told the court her daughter’s “courage and selflessness” was typical.
Many in the packed public gallery were in tears as Mrs McCullie read out an impact statement.
She told the judge her daughter was “the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen” after she was born and grew up to be an art-loving, “beautiful, popular young girl” who dreamed of becoming an architect.
Watched by dozens of members of her family, she said Jasmyn was a “beautiful, loving, generous girl with a heart of pure gold”.
Mrs McCullie added: “Some people are just born special. Jasmyn was one of those people.”
Her ex-husband, Peter Chan, who sat a few seats away from her in chairs normally reserved for the jury, was also in tears as she recalled how she knew her daughter was dead when she arrived at the scene of the crash, near her house, on May 9.
Mrs McCullie asked the judge how someone can knock down two children and leave them for dead by the side of the road.
Ellahi sat in the dock with his head in his hands weeping through the hour-long hearing, his sobs often audible to those in court.
Tom Storey, prosecuting, said the defendant was a habitual cannabis user who had been banned from driving years ago and since getting a new car had not bothered having a lesson and failed his theory test three times.
He set out to drive on that Friday night to see his daughter after snorting two lines of cocaine.
Mr Storey said investigators showed the car had been travelling at more than 61mph on the 30mph single carriageway road when he began to brake, got into a skid and lost control.
Judge Goose said he thought Ellahi would have been travelling substantially faster than this.
Jasmyn and Tia were with three other friends, who cannot be named, and were crossing the road in two groups.
Mr Storey said it was likely that Ellahi braked when he saw the three other teenagers in the road, swerved to miss this group and ended up hitting the other two girls.
Tia suffered a fractured ankle and cuts to her legs.
The prosecutor said Ellahi stopped briefly, then drove off at speed, leaving the injured girls on the grass verge where they had landed.
He handed himself in to police five days later and his car has never been recovered, the judge was told.
Judge Goose accepted that street lights were not working in the area of the crash and it was a “pool of darkness”, but he told Ellahi this should have prompted more caution from drivers.
He said: “In a remarkable act of bravery Jasmyn, as she saw the vehicle driving at her, pushed Tia away. By that act she probably saved Tia’s life.”
The court heard that Ellahi had police cautions for possessing cannabis and told police he was “cabbaged” due to years of drug abuse since he was a teenager.
After she left court Tia was asked what she thought about Jasmyn saving her life, and said: “I can’t thank her enough, really.”
She said it been “horrible” since the crash and she felt “happy and upset” following Ellahi’s jailing.
Tia said: “Mentioning everything about Jasmyn, that’s upsetting, but at least he’s away now.”
Leaving court with her parents, she said: “I think they could have given him more. It’s not going to bring her back.
“He clearly doesn’t have a conscience if he didn’t want to come back, if he just left us there.”
The court heard Jasmyn has been given a posthumous award by the Royal Humane Society.
Her father read out a statement from the family and when asked whether he thought Ellahi’s sentence was long enough, he said “no” but he did not want to add anything further.
Ellahi, of Ash Road, Birmingham, admitted causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing death by driving without a licence, causing death by driving without insurance, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident.