19th Oct, 2017

Road racers ploughed into cyclist at 'terrifying speeds'

Coventry Editorial 17th Apr, 2014 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A MOTHER suffered life-changing injuries when one of two drivers who were racing each other at motorway speeds in a 30mph zone ploughed into her.

Driver Keith Riley hit Helen Beere with such force as she cycled across Holyhead Road late at night her bike was broken in two.

Riley and the other driver he was racing against, Anas Raja, both pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Riley, 31, of Evenlode Crescent in Coundon, was jailed for 28 months and disqualified for four years after the judge heard his previous convictions included one in 2002 when he was jailed for five years for causing grievous bodily harm after deliberately driving at a policeman.

Raja, 22, of Cambridge Street in Hillfields, who also admitted having a false insurance certificate, was jailed for 18 months and banned for two years.

Prosecutor Laura Cully said at shortly after 11pm on June 6 last year Mrs Beere was cycling home from a friend’s home in Earlsdon on the footpath because she had no lights although she was wearing light-coloured clothes.

But as she was cycling across the well-lit Holyhead Road by its junction with Grayswood Avenue she was hit by Riley’s Seat Leon.

The Seat and Raja’s Vauxhall Vectra had been seen just seconds before racing side-by-side, moving onto the off-side of the road to overtake another car at what witnesses predicted was at least double the speed limit.

Riley’s car sped off although he did return half an hour later after telling his partner he thought he had killed someone while Raja stopped to call the emergency services, but claimed to have been a couple of hundred yards behind the Seat at the time of the crash, the court heard.

Mrs Beere suffered severe injuries which have had a devastating effect on her life, and which required several operations.

Ian Speed, for dad of two Riley, said his client could afford to pay compensation while Talbir Singh, for Raja, accepted a custodial sentence was likely but asked for it to be suspended, saying he was of previous good character.

But jailing both men, Judge Alan Parker told them: “The speeds were terrifying.

“Mrs Beere’s life will never be the same again because each of you thought you could drive your cars in a way which gave no thought to anyone else at all.”

Keith Riley was jailed for 28 months (s)

Anas Raja was sentenced to 18 months (s)

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