A SPEEDING driver has finally admitted being responsible for the death of a Coventry toddler after ploughing into him and his mother as they were crossing the road.
Mohmood Abid had originally denied causing the death of two-year-old Umar Akhalwaya by dangerous driving and causing his death by driving a car while uninsured.
He also denied a further charge of causing serious injury to little Umar’s mother Hawa Akhalwaya by dangerous driving in the tragic incident in Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry, April last year.
Umar and his 32-year-old mother were hit by a VW Bora driven by Abid as they and her other three children made their way home from visiting family at around nine o’clock that evening.
The two of them suffered severe injuries and were rushed by ambulance to hospital, but the toddler died shortly afterwards.
At a pre-trial hearing at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano observed that a collision expert calculated that Abid had been driving at 59mph along the 30mph-limit road.
Abid’s barrister Joe Hingston said Abid maintained he had not been driving dangerously, and claimed he had been doing under 30 when Umar and his mother stepped out from between parked cars.
But on the day of his trial, with Umar’s bereaved family sitting in the jury box and his own relatives in the public gallery, Abid finally admitted responsibility.
At the request of Mr Hingston, all three charges were put to him again, and he changed his pleas to guilty.
And despite Abid’s earlier claims, Mr Hingston said: “He accepts the full facts of the prosecution case.”
But he asked that Abid should not be sentenced straight away, and for the case to be adjourned.
Mr Hingston explained: “He has a history of poor mental health which, since this, has reached a critical state, and he has been receiving treatment.
“He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in the Spring of last year. He was sectioned for three months, and has been receiving intensive treatment since being discharged.”
He said he was not asking for a pre-sentence report, but for time for information on Abid’s mental health to be obtained.
And Judge de Bertodano agreed to adjourn sentence until October 4 to enable that to be done.
Asking for Abid, who had turned up at court without his medication, to be granted bail in the meantime, Mr Hingston said: “There are family matters that Mr Abid would like to attend to if possible.
“He knows he faces a substantial custodial sentence, but I ask for him to be given a short period of time on bail awaiting sentence, and giving him and his family time to prepare for the inevitable.”
But the judge, who pointed out that the medication would be available in prison, responded: “I’m sorry, but I am also dealing with Umar’s family who have had to wait because of his not guilty pleas.
“I am not going to take the risk that they have to wait a single day longer if there is any risk of him not turning up.”
Remanding Abid in custody, Judge de Bertodano told him: “You have done the right thing today by pleading guilty.
“You have at least spared Umar’s family the torment of going through a trial, and that will be taken into account when I sentence you.
“You will be brought back on the 4th of October, when you will be receiving a very lengthy term of imprisonment.”