“At this time in this city, there’s no alternative but to impose an immediate custodial sentence for dangerous driving,” a judge told an uninsured driver who failed to stop for police and drove through roads blocked off for the Darnall lantern parade.
Judge Roger Thomas QC sentenced Hamza Khan, 20, to six months in a Young Offenders’ Institute for offences of dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving without a license, during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday.
He told Khan, who was 19 at the time of his offending, that it was only a ‘matter of good fortune’ that his dangerous driving and failure to stop for police did not result in the same tragic consequences as a horror crash in Main Road, Darnall on November 9 this year, in which four people died after a VW Golf being chased by police collided with a VW Touran people carrier.
“Young men need to know that if they’re driving vehicles dangerously, particularly vehicles they shouldn’t be driving, and they fail to stop for police, when they come to courts in this city a custodial sentence will be imposed,” added Judge Thomas.
The court heard how minutes before the annual Darnall Lantern Parade on November 6 last year, Khan drove down Fisher Lane, which had been blocked off by police to accommodate the procession.
“The defendant was driving at about 20 miles per hour (mph), and when he saw the PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) he increased his speed. The PCSO jumped out of the way, but was caught on the elbow,” prosecutor, Beverley Tait, told the court.
Khan continued driving onto Irving Street, which had also been blocked off, increasing his speed up to around 40mph.
Ms Tait added: “The then drove round the corner on to Staniforth Road. Three other officers, who estimated his speed as being 50mph, had to jump out of the way and he crashed into another road user’s vehicle.”
The court heard how following the collision, Khan attempted to get into the back of his vehicle, and when officers came to arrest him at the scene he had his body in the back of the car and his legs in the front seat.
In a victim personal statement read out in court, the driver of the vehicle Khan crashed into said he needed to undergo physiotherapy for the injuries sustained in the collision, which also caused around £700 of damage to his car.
During police interview, Ms Tait said Khan claimed that a man he knew only as ‘Jamal’ had been driving the vehicle and fled the scene following the collision.
This was not accepted by the force, and Khan was charged with a number of offences relating to the collision, following analysis of CCTV and DNA taken from the airbag.
Khan eventually acknowledged he was the driver when he entered guilty pleas to offences including dangerous driving at an earlier hearing.
Defending, Alexandra Sutton, said Khan wished to pass on his apologies to all those involved in the incident.
She added: “He knows there is no-one else to blame, and is quite properly ashamed in himself.”
As he sent him to prison, Judge Thomas also reprimanded Khan for only admitting he was the driver after the police and prosecution had been forced to go to the expense of carrying out DNA analysis.
- South Yorkshire Police have been asked to supply a custody image of Khan