'Great grandmother died because of greed of callous Leeds crash for cash killers'

TWO 'callous' men who took part in a crash for cash plot in which a great grandmother was killed have been found guilty of manslaughter.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 27th February 2017, 4:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 7:39 am
Betty, who was killed in the cash for crash scheme
Betty, who was killed in the cash for crash scheme

A judge today returned guilty verdicts after taking the highly unusual step of dismissing the jury part way through a trial after some jurors were offered bribes.

Mr Justice Goss found Sabbir Hussain, 25, and Raja Hussain, 31, guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Leeds Crown Court

A third man, Shahrear Islam- Miah, 26, was found not guilty of manslaughter.

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Betty with Jeff, who was driving one of the cars involved in the crash but was not part of the case

All three defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud.

A fourth man, Muhammed Ubaidullah, 24, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, conspiracy to commit fraud and attempting to pervert the court of justice.

All four defendants will be sentenced tomorrow.

Betty Laird, 88, suffered fatal spinal injuries when the Renault Kangoo she was a passenger in was struck on Old Lane, Beeston, Leeds, on September 10, 2014.

Betty with Jeff, who was driving one of the cars involved in the crash but was not part of the case

The jury was told a VW Passat was driven into the side of the Kangoo in order to make fraudulent injury compensation claims from insurance companies.

Mrs Laird was in the vehicle with her friend Jeff Grimshaw, 77, at the time of the incident.

Mrs Laird suffered multiple injuries in the collision and died later that evening.

Mr Grimshaw died later of causes unrelated to the collision.

A victim impact statement was read to the court by prosecutor Peter Moulson, QC, on behalf of Mrs Laird's son, John.

He said: "Sitting in court for the last few weeks hearing evidence has been stressful and very emotional at times.

"I have been shocked at the callousness of the defendants as they seem to have no regard for anyone but themselves and especially not for some 'old lady' and 'old bloke' who they seemed to think had no value."

The statement continued: "Although mum was 88 she was still enjoying family get togethers, Christmas lunches, holidays and days out with Jeff.

"In particular, she loved bingo and would play at every opportunity.

"She was made of strong stuff and most likely would still be here today if it wasn't for the greed of a group of young men."

Mr Justice Goss dismissed the jury last Wednesday (February 22) during the third week of the trial.

The decision was made after jurors were filmed when the building was evacuated after a fire alarm was deliberately activated.

Some members of the jury were also approached as they left the court building and offered sums of up to £500 in cash.

Mr Justice Goss said there had been a series of events which demonstrated "concerted attempts" to tamper with jurors.

He chose to take advantage of seldom-used powers under section 46 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which allows trials to continue without a jury.

Dismissing the jurors, the judge said: "There has undoubtedly been an attempt to tamper with you."

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.

The judge said: "One of those three jurors was so upset and felt so disconcerted by what had taken place that they felt unable to serve as a juror."

Another juror, who had left the court separately, was approached by a man and offered money to return NOT guilty verdicts.

The court heard a fifth juror was also followed by a man holding what was thought to be a sum of money.

The judge continued: "The pursuit was persistent and disconcerted him so that he felt he could not remain loyal to his jury oath."

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.