Lorry driver who caused crash on A13 in Rainham in which student died is jailed for eight months

PUBLISHED: 10:17 04 August 2016 | UPDATED: 10:17 04 August 2016

Hassan Sheikh died from injuries he sustained in the crash on the A13 on July 1 2015. Picture: Iqra Sheikh

Hassan Sheikh died from injuries he sustained in the crash on the A13 on July 1 2015. Picture: Iqra Sheikh


A lorry driver who caused a collision in which a student died by changing lanes without checking his mirrors was jailed for eight months yesterday (Wednesday).

Joseph Smith, 55, was driving his HGV on the A13 towards London when he made the manoeuvre that cost 21-year-old Hassan Sheikh, of Ilford, his life.

Smith moved into the middle lane without looking, causing the crash that saw Mr Sheikh’s car hit the central reservation near Ferry Lane, Rainham.

Both Mr Sheikh and his passenger Bilal Ahmed were thrown from the car. Emergency services arrived at the scene just before 2pm on July 1 last year and Mr Sheikh was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

Mr Ahmed broke his leg and pelvis.

Smith, of Battlebridge Court, Wharfdale Road, Kings Cross admitted causing death by careless driving at the Old Bailey.

The court heard that on the morning of the crash, Smith had been involved in a second incident, in which his lorry scraped a car on a tight bend at a speed of about 4mph.

Prosecutor Christopher Foulkes said Mr Sheikh had been travelling at 78mph and neither he or his passenger had been wearing seat belts.

Mr Foulkes told the court: “There’s a possibility that he may have survived the collision had he been wearing his seatbelt, he was also eight miles over the speed limit, but the fact that he was speeding is unlikely to have changed the outcome of the collision.”

Jailing Smith for eight months, Judge Rebecca Poulet said: “Whist this was a momentary mistake, there are aggravating features.

“Firstly I’m bound to take into account that there was serious injury to a second person in addition to the deceased. You also have a pervious conviction for the offence of careless driving that very morning.

“You’ve clearly worked hard in your life to provide properly for yourself and your family, in addition there’s also your genuine remorse. I accept fully that you do feel the pain of the family, you have apologised openly and I accept that it comes from your heart.”

At the time of the accident Mr Sheikh was just two weeks away from finishing his business degree at Middlesex University.

He also worked with his dad Nasir at his fruit and veg business in New Spitalfields Market, Leyton.

In a victim impact statement his parents Rubina and Mazir Mahmood said: “The death of our son has stricken our hearts in pieces.”

“Hassan had ambitions to be in business. Everyone knew him and liked him at the market and he was a very helpful person in running the family business - he was very helpful and never worried about himself, which is a very unusual quality to see in people.”

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