Yorkshire driver fined just £500 after leaving pedestrian with mental capacity of a five-year-old following collision

A careless driver who caused 'catastrophic' injuries to an 18-year-old pedestrian in Bradford has been fined just £500 for the offence.

Moments before the collision on the evening of April 21, 2019, Thaaqeeb Zafar, then 19, had been driving his mum’s Mercedes at more than double the 20mph speed limit on nearby Scotchman Road, but Bradford Crown Court heard that he had slowed considerably before making a turn and knocking down the complainant.

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Zafar, now 22, had no convictions at the time and was insured to drive his mum’s vehicle and although he was originally charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving he eventually pleaded guilty to separate offences of careless driving and dangerous driving.

Scotchman Road, Bradford

Passing sentence, Recorder Anthony Hawks stressed that he was constrained by the sentencing guidelines for the offences as he imposed the fine for the careless driving and four months in prison, suspended for a year, for the earlier dangerous driving on Scotchman Road.

After the collision a group of men tried to get the injured teenager into a taxi which had pulled up, but by the time an ambulance and the police arrived Zafar had driven home in a panic and the others had left.

The injured teenager’s uncle and a local councillor were involved in locating the damaged Mercedes which was found parked outside Zafar’s family home on Brantwood Oval, Bradford.

As a result of the collision the 18-year-old suffered significant bleeding inside the skull and a life-threatening brain injury which required multiple surgical procedures.

Prosecutor Austin Newman said the teenager was now left with a weakness down his entire right side, was partially blind in his right eye and had the mental capacity of a five-year-old.

The victim also needed speech and language therapy and now required lifelong care.

Recorder Hawks emphasised that given what had happened the public had to understand that the court’s powers in relation to an offence of careless driving were limited to a fine.

At present there is no offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, but the government announced proposals last July to introduce such an offence, with a maximum sentence of two years in jail, as part of changes to sentencing for road traffic offences.

Zafar was banned from driving for two years and told he must take an extended retest before lawfully driving on the roads again.

Recorder Hawks said the victim had been minding his own business that night walking home and Zafar had run him over due to his inattention.

“The consequences for that you man have been catastrophic,” said the judge.

“He has the mental capacity of a five-year-old now. He has a multiplicity of difficulties both physical, cognitive and otherwise and his life has been ruined and no doubt the life of his family, as a result of this, has been ruined.

“Nothing I can do, and no sentence I can pass, is going to put back together the events of that night, but it’s something you’re going to have to live with for the rest of your life.”