Lamborghini Gallardo crash duo found guilty
Two men involved in crashing a supercar into a shop have been convicted of lying to cover their actions after they tried to blame the incident on a mystery customer at the cafe where one of them worked.
Talal Alkassab, 39, and Diyaa Lababidi, 33, both pleaded guilty on 14th March at Southwark Crown Court to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The collision, which caused more than £100,000 worth of damage, saw a Lamborghini Gallardo plough into a shop in Westminster on 23rd July 2015.
Their convictions follow a lengthy investigation by police in Westminster.
On 23rd July 2015 police were called shortly before 07:30AM, after receiving reports a car had hit the front of shops in Woodstock Street W1.
The high-powered car had collided with several street bollards and the glass and metal frontage of the property, causing significant damage.
After checking CCTV footage the police discovered that the collision had occurred around 00:15 that morning. The car had driven up Woodstock Street before accelerating and colliding with the building at speed. Two people were seen getting out and the vehicle remained there until it was recovered around three hours later. No call was made to notify police of the accident.
Alkassab and Lababidi were eventually arrested after an extensive police investigation.
It was discovered that it was Alkassab who hired the Lamborghini on 22nd July 2015. He told police an unknown customer at the nearby cafe where he worked had taken the keys to the car without his knowledge, and it was he who crashed the vehicle while parking it.
However, text messages were uncovered between Alkassab and Lababidi, which lead to Alkassab eventually admitting to police that his friend Lababidi had been driving.
Lababidi was charged earlier in the investigation with driving offences. He had appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 2nd February 2016 where he pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, failure to report a road traffic collision, having no insurance and driving a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
He received an eight-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months for failing to report the collision and was disqualified from driving for six months for driving without insurance. His licence was also endorsed for driving without due care and attention and driving without a licence.
Lababidi was ordered to pay £714.13 compensation to Westminster Council for damage to bollards, as well as £85 prosecution costs and an £80 victim surcharge. Charges of attempted insurance fraud were left to lie on file for Alkassab.
PC Colin Moore, of Westminster police, said: "Alkassab and Lababidi were not only involved in a serious collision that caused thousands of pounds worth of damage but Alkassan then lied to police over a considerable period of time, protracting our enquiries and delaying the matter in coming to court.
"I am pleased they have finally been held accountable for their actions and, with summer approaching, I hope this case sends a message to those who drive such vehicles about the responsibilities that come with that and the efforts police will take to tackle their anti-social use."
They are due to be sentenced on 11th April.