JAILED: Kamar Farooq crashed the £85,000 BMW into a traffic island during the police chase, then climbed into the back of the vehicle and denied being the driver
A banned driver who tore along streets in Birmingham and Solihull at speeds reaching 115mph has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Kamar Farooq travelled at almost four times the legal limit - at times on the wrong side of the road - before crashing the £85,000 BMW M3 into a traffic island and careering into a car at a petrol station. All the action was caught by a police-car dash-cam.
West Midlands Police patrol officers became suspicious when they spotted Farooq behind the wheel of the car in Washwood Heath Road on 23rd September last year - but when they tried pulling it over the 30-year-old sped away.
During the dramatic chase, he was also followed by a police helicopter, which recorded his every move as he sped down the wrong side of a quiet street.
After the collision in Chester Road, Castle Bromwich, Farooq jumped into the backseat alongside two other men and claimed to have been a passenger.
All three were arrested but officers managed to secure CCTV footage earlier that night showing the driver wearing clothes matching that of Farooq’s when he was arrested.
Farooq, of Aston Lane, Aston, still denied being the driver but at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (25 August) was convicted and jailed for dangerous driving and getting behind the wheel while disqualified; he was also given a 10-year driving ban.
PC Robert Lattimer, from the roads policing unit at Chelmsley Wood, said: "This was reckless driving by someone who should not have been behind the wheel.
"Officers had suspicions around the vehicle and tried to pull it over; but Farooq failed to stop and hit speeds of 115mph in 30mph zones.
"He tried to deny being the driver despite our investigations which secured such strong evidence against him."This was a high performance vehicle and the outcome could have been much worse. He now faces a long time behind bars rather than behind the wheel of a car."
TRAUMATISED: Awais Hussain says that taxi drivers often don’t report hate incidents to the police as it goes to the ‘bottom of the pile’
There has been an unprecedented spike in hate crimes with people receiving Islamophobic abuse following the Manchester Arena bombing and London Bridge attack, and taxi drivers are no exception.
Hard-working 29-year-old Bradford man, Awais Hussain, was bricked by hooded white teenagers whilst on his shift as he drove down Woodhouse Lane in Leeds on Friday 16th June.
With one brick flying in through the car window and hitting him in the face, others smashed his windscreen.
“The impact was so shocking I initially I thought I’d been shot. I looked down and all I could see was blood. It was everywhere,” says Awais reliving the harrowing experience.
“I was driving down the road with my window open and I heard a brick hit the front of my car but it hit the road and thought kids were messing about again.
“Two seconds later more stones were thrown and one made it through the window and hit me.
“I parked the car up, got out and fell to the floor. Someone walking by stopped and helped me to my feet. As I got up my head was in so much pain I got to my car and pressed the emergency button.”
Fortunately, a fellow taxi driver had seen the incident dialled the police, while a member of the public dialled for an Ambulance.
“I was at the LGI for about six-hours that night. The doctors glued and stitched my nose but I couldn’t get to sleep all night. I was in shock. I still am,” adds Awais.
Awais says the youngsters were in the area following the attack around 11pm that night, but police but officers were unable to make any arrests.
The shaken taxi driver says that incident could have been much worse had he swerved the car and hit pedestrians. He added that it could easily have been a more dire situation had he not slammed on his brakes.
Not only has the family man lost earnings with him being off work, his insurance company has refused to pay for damages to his vehicle.
“I go out every day to earn an honest living and provide for my wife and myself. No one expects to be unable to work for something like this.
“When people ring up the police with complaints, I believe it goes to the bottom of the list. Drivers have said the often don’t get an immediate response.
“Less people report an incident because they believe nothing will happen, so what’s the point?
“The only reason they were so quick with me was because I was actually injured.”
Awais had a final message for his attacker: “When you are out of school there are other ways to spend your time. It might seem fun but these actions are affecting lives and could cause serious injury to pedestrians and passengers in the taxi you’re attacking.”
Councillor calls for change
SOLIDAIRITY: Councillor Javaid Akhtar and local drivers stand together in support of Awais
Following Awais’s attack, Councillor Javaid Akhtar called for a meeting with West Yorkshire Police, the press, Leeds City Council and taxi drivers at Woodsley Road Community Centre in Hyde Park.
Cllr Akhtar says that an alarming number of taxi drivers are not reporting hate incidents to the police, either because they just have the work ethic of “get on with it” or for fear of seeming to be wasting valuable police time.
“To be attacked for doing your job should not be tolerated and that’s why I called the meeting,” says Cllr Akhtar.
Speaking to the Asian Express, he adds: “We are trying to encourage drivers to report every single incident, and that schools need to educate their young people to be more responsible.”
“Children in school need to be told how dangerous their seemingly ‘bit of fun’ could be.
“Throwing stones or bricks at a driving vehicle could have dire consequences.
“More often than not, cabbies are not reporting these crimes because they see no end result – they still have to fix their own vehicles regardless of what the damage and still need to get up and go out for work the next day because they need to earn a living.
“Unless we all collaborate, things will not change.”
West Yorkshire Police sergeant John McNiff said: “There have been arrests and they are usually school children, some even under the age of criminality.
“Ultimately we want to eradicate the issue but are best bet is to highlight ‘hot-spot’ areas.”
A number of drivers said they had been targeted by youth in Leeds throwing stones and provided a list of the most dangerous areas: Armley Ridge Road, Armley; Cockshott Lane, Armley; Easterly Road, Gipton and York Road and Halton Moor.
Ayaz and Faraz Saddiq and Kameran Khan have developed a new app which is the “Rolls Royce” of takeaway and restaurant delivery service
With new sophisticated phone apps and online food ordering options for the customer seemingly endless and convenient, for takeaway and restaurant owners it’s imperative that they deliver their customer’s food on time.
But things don’t always go to plan. One of the biggest headaches in the food delivery service industry is ensuring there are enough drivers on the ready to meet customer’s expectations.
Now a trio of innovative Asian businessmen from Leeds, have teamed up to provide the perfect solution that takeaway and restaurant owners may face when their delivery driver can’t make it in for their shift.
Brother Ayaz and Faraz Saddiq and friend Kameran Khan recognised the niche in the market and have developed the perfect solution, which is sure to be a win-win for takeaway owner, customer and delivery driver.
Ayaz Saddiq, who’s worked in the food industry for a number of years, experienced this first hand when he took on evening jobs as a takeaway delivery driver.
“I witnessed the stress takeaway owners were enduring if their delivery driver let them down and struggled to source a driver at very short notice,” explains Ayaz.
“I realised this was quite a big issue for takeaway and restaurant owners and was discussing it extensively with my brother Faraz.
“I’ve also heard experiences of hard-working delivery drivers who would be called into work on their days off but did not receive the appreciation for their hard work.”
Ayaz and Faraz decided they could offer a food delivery service agency and so went door-to-door promoting their services. Very soon they couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of “last-minute” delivery requests.
Whilst discussing the scenario with their close friend Kameran, the team have developed a delivery-driver booking app ‘DriverStop’, which is set to revolutionise the way eateries manage their deliveries.
DriverStop is a new app that brings together takeaway/restaurant owners and delivery drivers at a very short notice.
A takeaway owner can submit their driver request through the app for the number of hours work required, a message is sent to all the pre-registered drivers and the first to accept will get the job.
“The idea is simple but it’s a service that is long over due,” says Kameran.
“This app is set to revolutionise the fast food delivery industry.
‘We’ve had the likes of JustEat and HungryHouse bring orders to takeaways at the touch of a button, but what was lacking is the ability to get those orders to the customers in good time.”
There is more to DriverStop says Faraz: “Delivery drivers are the backbone of the takeaway industry.
“They work tirelessly to bring us our food fresh and tasty, yet their hard work has gone unnoticed far too long, the DriverStop gives flexibility to delivery drivers so they can work when they want and achieve a good work-life balance.
“The app has been received really well by takeaway and restaurant owners, they all love the idea and see it as a life-saver.”
As well as paying great rates according to the driver’s delivery experience, it offers advice on customer service, best routes for optimum delivery times and tips on ensuring customer confidence.
“Hina was my eldest child. I was in my mid-40s when Hina was born and I had waited so long to become a father so the day of her birth was the happiest day of my life,” says father.
Hina Shamim, a talented student, who was weeks short of her 22nd birthday, was crossing the road to go to the library at the University of Kingston when she was knocked down and killed.
At the time of the crash, at around 9 pm on 31st March, 2015, Farid Reza, who had five children in the back seat, was "showing off" in his sports car while driving at high speeds with a second BMW driven by William Spicer, 28.
Two men who raced their high-performance cars along a street in Kingston, leading to the death of the young woman, were found guilty by a jury on Thursday 26th January.
Farid Reza, 36 (3.04.80) of Surbiton Road, Kingston was convicted at the Old Bailey, of causing death by dangerous driving and also causing serious injury by dangerous driving after a young boy inside his car suffered multiple fractures. Details of his sentence are yet to be confirmed.
TRAGIC: Hina Shamin, 21, died after she was struck by the BMW M3 convertible driven by Farid Reza, 36, as it spun out of control and crashed into a bus. Hina died from multiple injuries, including fractures to her arms, left leg and pelvis and a brain injury.
William Spicer, 28 (6.06.88) of Somervell, Harrow, was found not guilty of those two offences but guilty of careless driving.
He was given nine penalty points on his licence, a £1,000 fine and ordered to pay £500 costs.
The court heard that around 21:00hrs Reza was racing his white convertible BMW M3 against a dark grey BMW 330d, driven by Spicer who had three friends with him. They drove from the area of Kingston town centre towards Surbiton, reaching speeds of almost 70mph in a 30mph zone as they came into Penrhyn Road.
Detective Sergeant Jeff Edwards, from the Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: "Reza and Spicer were essentially showing off, racing each other to see who had the fastest car.
"Miss Shamim didn’t stand a chance; at the speed Reza was travelling it was impossible for him to stop in time and avoid the collision. Not only that but he had five children in his car whose lives he also put in danger through his incredibly reckless and needless actions. One was badly injured.
"I would like to commend Miss Shamim's family for their dignity throughout the trial, undoubtedly an incredibly difficult time for them, as well as the police investigation and prosecution teams for their tireless work to secure these convictions."
Miss Shamim, a student studying sports science at Kingston University, was crossing the road as she made her way to the campus library.
She was hit at speed by Reza's car.
The vehicle then crashed into a bus before spinning and stopping on the pavement.
Witnesses heard crying and saw Reza trying to get young children out of the car. Miss Shamim was lying motionless on the pavement beside the vehicle.
Spicer continued past the collision and made an illegal right-hand turn into Surbiton Road.
Police were called and commenced CPR but Miss Shamim died at 21:43hrs.
They identified that five children - aged four, four, eight, 12 and 16 - had been in Reza's car. The 16-year-old was still trapped and had to be cut out of the vehicle by the London Fire Brigade.
The children were taken by ambulance to St George's Hospital with shock and cuts and bruises. Following a scan, one of the four-year-olds was found to have fractures to his skull, jawbone, collarbone and a bone in his face. He has since recovered.
A post-mortem examination on Miss Shamim found she died from multiple injuries, including fractures to her arms, left leg and pelvis and a brain injury.
Examination of Reza's car found no child seats and only two seatbelts in the back of the vehicle, meaning at least two of the children were unrestrained.
Collision investigators estimated both vehicles were travelling at around 62 or 63 mph at the time of the collision. Had Reza been travelling within the 30mph speed limit, officers found he would have stopped in time upon seeing Miss Shamim in the road ahead.
In an impact statement, Hina's father Shamim Khan said: "On the day Hina died, a part of me died with her. Her death has left a void in my life that can never be filled.
"Hina was my eldest child. I was in my mid-40s when Hina was born and I had waited so long to become a father so the day of her birth was the happiest day of my life. For every parent, their child is precious. In my case, Hina was my life.
"In our culture, people tend to favour sons over daughters but for me, Hina was everything. Hina was a delightful child who grew up to become a compassionate and selfless woman, always placing the wishes and needs of others before her own. She loved her family and her family loved her. She had so much to live for.”
TRAGEDY: Hamza Gujjar was pronounced dead at the scene following the horror smash
Teenager high on cannabis killed three of his friends in high-speed crash
A teenager ‘high on cannabis’ who killed three of his friends in a horror sports car smash after reaching speeds of up to 120mph has been jailed for six years on the day of his 18th birthday.
Boy racer, Arayeb Saqib, admitted causing the death of three of his friends while driving an Audi S5 so fast it became airborne.
Hours after they had attended a family wedding, Saqib - who was 17 at the time and who did not hold a driving licence - got behind the wheel of a hired super performance sports car with his four friends.
Saqib, who turned 18 today, bowed his head in the dock as he was told that his driving during the early hours of 27th April had been the ‘worst case of causing death by dangerous driving’ that the sentencing judge at Manchester Crown Court had ever encountered.
Police saw the car driving dangerously through South Manchester but an officer decided it was not safe to go beyond 80mph after giving chase.
By the time the vehicle had crossed a junction it was going at such speed that the camber of the road acted as a ramp.
The car took off, flew through the air, and hurtled over to where it landed on the other side of the road.
Saqib lost control, and skidded sideways for 100 metres, crashing into a sign and two parked cars, causing his friends’ horrific injuries.
It has been reported that at the hospital he claimed to be a passenger, telling nurses he saw the speedometer reach 110mph,
Three of his passengers - Hamza Iqbal, 24, Mohammad Hamza Gujjar, 21, and Munib Karim, 20 - were all fatal victims of the resulting smash . A fourth - Suhaib Aziz, 19 – ‘miraculously’ survived the collision - albeit with serious injurious.
Mr Karim, whose sister's wedding had taken place only hours earlier, died in hospital the following day.
Judge David Stockdale QC said Saqib's ‘truly appalling driving’ had been motivated by a ‘selfish wish for self-preservation’ and desire to impress his older friends.
At an earlier hearing, Saqib, who had not been at the wedding, pleaded guilty to three charges of causing death by dangerous driving and one charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
In opening the case, prosecutor Gavin Howie said the white Audi was witnessed by a police patrol car driving ‘out of control’ - describing the car as ‘fishtailing’ as it travelled in the opposite direction to the officer.
When the officer activated his sirens the Audi sped up to speeds of around 70mph along the 30 and 40mph road before disappearing from sight.
Mr Howie told the court: “The truth is he never really got close to it.”
Two men were pronounced dead at the scene - one having been thrown from the window.
COMMENDATION: Taxi driver Kamran Rasheed has been awarded with a Chief Constable’s Commendation for his selfless act
Superhero taxi driver
A taxi driver has been honoured by Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable for a glowing display of community spirit in caring for a vulnerable pensioner..
87-year-old William Place, who retired as a police officer in 1984, had been visiting his wife, Moreen, in Manchester Royal Infirmary but lost track of time and left later than he normally would have.
When William arrived home, the entrance to the shared shelter housing had been locked with a padlock. He did not have a key and the sheltered housing was surrounded by 5ft metal fencing.
Unsure of what to do, a confused William wandered onto Stockport Road and sought shelter in a bus stop where he was spotted by taxi-driver Kamran Rasheed, 44, in the early hours of the morning, around 2am.
Knowing that the bus service had stopped for the evening, Kamran dropped off his fare and returned to the bus stop to offer William a lift home free of charge.
Noticing that William was cold and disorientated, Kamran took him to McDonalds to get him a hot drink before taking him to Longsight Police Station.
At this point PC Peter Crowe drove past and approached the pair thinking it was a dispute but soon found out that Kamran intended to take William home for food and a warm bed, or to pay for a hotel room for him.
Kamran then drove William home with PC Crowe but the sheltered housing company did not have an out-of-hours service, so the lock needed to be removed by the officer.
In total, Kamran stayed with William for around four hours, devoting his own working time to care for William.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “This is a glowing example of community spirit and a selfless display of care and compassion for others.
“Kamran’s dedication ensured that this vulnerable man was looked after and rescued him from a potentially serious situation and I’m delighted that William is now safe and well.
“His actions that night deserve to be recognised. I am proud to be able to award him with a Chief Constable’s Commendation.”
Kamran, who is also a foster carer, said: “At first I only pulled over to tell him that the buses had stopped, but he told me he wasn’t waiting for a bus.
“I offered him a lift and took him to get a warm drink before I took him to the station. I just did it because it was the right thing to do.
“It’s wonderful to receive this commendation. It was a new experience and I never thought I would be recognised with anything like this so I’m really proud.”
PC Peter Crowe said: “I’ve met a lot of people, some good and some bad but the compassion and support Kamran offered William was truly heart-warming.
“It wasn't done for reward, praise or recognition; it was a plain and pure example of a genuinely caring man doing something for someone because it was the right thing to do.”
RAINBOW RIDES: LGBT drivers in Mumbai are a clear sign of social acceptance
In a forward-thinking move for India's commercial capital, Mumbai's marginalised community of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) citizens will soon be able to drive private taxis in the city.
300 members of the community will be involved in a project launched by Wings Travels and community organisation Humsafar Trust, so that they can drive cabs in the city under the moniker ‘Wings Rainbow’. It is expected to expand nationwide and is the country's first LGBT-powered radio cab service.
Pallav Patankar, director of programmes at Humsafar Trust in Mumbai told Reuters: “The LGBT community, especially transgenders, have very few economic opportunities because of the huge stigma that they still face.
“We hope that this will set the ball rolling and that it will open up other such opportunities for them."
In April 2014, The Supreme Court of India recognised transgender as a legal third gender. A landmark judgment lauded by human rights groups called on the government to ensure their equal treatment. Before the ‘NALSA vs Union of India’ case, LGBT citizens were forced to write male or female against their gender.
Arun Kharat, the company’s founder and director told Reuters that Wings Travels can place about 1,500 LGBT drivers in its taxi fleet nationwide.
The travel and car rental company also operates a taxi service that employs retired army personnel and one with female drivers for women passengers.
Arun said: “Driving a taxi is a way for these marginalised people who may not get so many opportunities to gain respectability and independence.”
The Humsafar Trust is a community-based organisation of LGBT persons. It has been established in Mumbai since 1994.
The taxis, chauffeured by LGBT community members, are expected to start carrying out journeys in 2017.