A court has heard that an elderly woman was killed when her daughter’s car was involved in a head-on crash with a BMW which was heading the wrong way along a dual carriageway following a nine-mile pursuit.
There was nothing Sheila Wilson, who was on her way back to her home in Warwick with her mother Elizabeth Roberts, could do to avoid the collision with the BMW driven by Sagar Taseem.
And a jury has heard the crash came after Taseem and his passenger had been involved in a chase with two other cars before making his fatal u-turn on the B4451 near Gaydon.
Taseem (26) of Evenlode, Banbury, and his passenger Naqash Hussain (29) of Prescott Avenue, Banbury, have both pleaded not guilty to causing the death of 80-year-old Mrs Roberts by dangerous driving.
With them in the dock is Kieran Flint (21) of Barley Hill, Banbury, who has denied a charge of dangerous driving over his alleged role earlier in the incident he is said to have begun.
And the jury heard that a fourth man, Samuel Franklin (24) of Warkworth Close, Banbury, has pleaded guilty to causing the pensioner’s death by dangerous driving, even though he was not involved in the actual collision.
Prosecutor Simon Davis said that on Wednesday February 15, 2017, Mrs Wilson drove to her mother’s home to drive her back to her own home in Warwick.
Their journey back to Warwick took them through Edgehill and north on the B4100 before joining the B4451, a ‘relatively new piece of dual carriageway,’ during the rush hour at 5.50pm.
She was in the outside lane, planning to turn onto the M40, ‘but ‘unfortunately she and her mum never got to junction 12 because a white BMW driven by Taseem, and in which Hussain was the front seat passenger, collided head-on with Mrs Wilson’s Fiesta.’
“Mrs Roberts was badly injured, and despite attempts by hospital staff to keep her alive, unfortunately she passed away as a result of her injuries.”
Mr Davis told the jury: “You may be wondering how it was that the BMW came to be facing oncoming traffic. It was no accident. This case is about dangerous driving, it’s about a high-speed chase involving three cars.”
He said the prosecution case was that Taseen and Hussain were both responsible for the BMW being driven dangerously, and therefore for Mrs Roberts’ death, as was Franklin, driving a VW Jetta, who had pleaded guilty to the charge.
And of the charge against Flint, he added: “Although he was not part of the final collision, he was certainly involved in what was going on.”
Mr Davis said the build-up to the fatal cash followed a chase of eight-and-a-half to nine miles which began on the Hanwell Estate to the north of Banbury, triggered by ‘some bad blood between Flint and Taseem and Hussain.’
Flint later said he was with his girlfriend in his red Fiesta when Taseem and Hussain came up behind them in a white BMW and there was a chase through Hanwell village, during which his girlfriend called his friend Sam Franklin for help.
He said he headed north on the B4100 pursued by the BMW, and met up with Franklin along the way.
But Taseem and Hussain said they were outside a friend’s house when a Fiesta and a Jetta pulled up behind them and the doors opened and, according to Hussain, ‘eight or nine lads got out,’ so Taseem decided to drive off.
They said both cars started to chase them, and they ended up on the B4100 where the Fiesta tried to ram them off the road.
But Mr Davis said that others drivers had spoken of being overtaken at high speed by the Fiesta, quickly followed by the BMW, and he commented: “It wasn’t the Fiesta and the Jetta chasing the BMW, it was the BMW being the cat and the Fiesta the mouse.”
A few moments later those drivers saw the Fiesta had dangerously stopped in the middle of the busy road, with the Jetta alongside having come in the opposite direction.
With Flint blocking the BMW in, Franklin got out of his car and began kicking it, at which Taseem began to shunt Flint’s Fiesta out of the way before scraping past the side of it.
He then sped off, with the Fiesta following on behind and Franklin doing a u-turn before taking over the chase.
The BMW and the Jetta both went through a red light to make the right turn onto the B4451 dual carriageway, weaving in and out of the rush hour traffic already on the road.
“Within moments the traffic heading towards the M40 junction appeared to stop. The Jetta had caught up with the BMW and hit it from behind.”
And the BMW then turned round in the traffic and headed back the way it had come, with Taseem driving at speed the wrong way along the dual carriageway in the face of oncoming traffic.
“Sheila Wilson was on her way home with her mum. She had also seen the BMW and the Jetta. They had passed her too, and she was pleased they were ahead of her out of the way.
“She was in the outside lane when the BMW came towards her Fiesta and collided with it. She had nowhere to go, she could not avoid it, and unfortunately her mother died as a result.”
Meanwhile, the Jetta had carried on to the nearby traffic lights where it did also did a u-turn, but onto the correct side of the road, and headed back along the road before stopping in the fast lane opposite the site of the crash.
Franklin got out and went over to the crashed cars – but not to try to help, because he began striking the BMW with something as Taseem and Hussain got out and ran from the scene.
Flint arrived at a nearby petrol station soon after, and there must have been further contact between him and his friend, because Franklin ended up in the Fiesta.
Mr Davis pointed out that Taseem and Hussain’s defence was that they had acted out of duress, in fear for their safety.
Taseem claimed there were ‘ten of them’ in the other two cars, and that after he was rammed by the Jetta they were going to jump him – and that he had no choice other than to do a u-turn and go the wrong way along the dual carriageway to get away.
The trial continues.