Van driver guilty of killing mum as she walked kids to school

Mohammed Karani outside court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Mohammed Karani outside court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A MAN faces prison after he was convicted of causing the death of a mother who was struck by his runaway vehicle.

Simran Ahmed, 46, suffered catastrophic injuries when she was crushed by the driverless Ford Transit Connect van after it rolled downhill and then across Willans Road, Dewsbury on to the pavement.

Mohammed Karani had parked the vehicle on Swindon Road while doing some electrical work inside the Medina Academy but it moved, the prosecution claimed, because he had not fully pulled the handbrake on or left it in gear.

Karani, 44 of Park Close, Batley was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court yesterday(wed) of causing Mrs Ahmed’s death by careless or inconsiderate driving on April 26 last year.

Judge Christopher Batty agreed to adjourn for a pre-sentence report but warned: “I cannot at this stage say that it will be anything other than an immediate custodial sentence.”

He imposed an interim disqualification and bailed Karani until sentence telling him: “This is a very sad case and also a sad case for you.”

“There is no way you ever intended or ever foresaw the tragic events of that day and I recognise that.”

He accepted the serious consequences were also a life-changing matter for him. He said a report would provide details about him before a final sentencing decision was made.

Stephen Wood prosecuting told the jury CCTV footage showed Karani twice returning to the vehicle and removing tools.

But around 34 minutes after he was last seen doing that the van was captured moving backwards slowly down the incline, gradually increasing speed until it disappeared from view.

At the same time Mrs Ahmed, 46, was crossing Willans Road with two children including her daughter Kiran aged 10.

“What then unfolded was seen by a number of witnesses and you may think must have been traumatic to view.”

The van with no one inside picked up speed until it reached about 15 miles an hour careering across the road and crushing Mrs Ahmed against a wall and seriously injuring Kiran, who had a fractured skull.

No defect was found in the vehicle. The gear stick was in neutral and the parking brake was only partially applied on two notches out of a possible six.

Tests showed when on four it was easily able to hold its position on the hill. The wheels had also not been turned to prevent it running straight back.

Mr Wood told the jury it was the crown’s case it was still careless driving even if Karani was not behind the wheel at the time if it was “careless in the way he left the vehicle.”

In evidence Karani insisted he had pulled the brake on as far as it would go which had kept the vehicle stationary for 43 minutes. He could not remember if the vehicle was left in gear but that was what he usually did.

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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