Driver who killed woman and girl, While Using Mobile Phone, is jailed

Shelby Maher, 17, and Rachel Murphy, 23, were clearly visible as they crossed the middle of the A59 Brockholes Brow, but Mohmed Salman Patel, 26, was more interested in his mobile phone and failed to see them.

Miss Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision with the defendant’s BMW 3 Series in the early evening of April 20 2016, while Miss Maher died in hospital.

Another teenage girl in the group of five friends crossing the road was seriously injured and was in hospital for a week.

Another teenage girl in the group of five friends crossing the road was seriously injured and was in hospital for a week.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said Patel sent two text messages to his girlfriend at 6.12pm on April 20 asking her whereabouts.

At 6.37pm she replied “yeah at mate’s” to which he swiftly responded: “Her house?”

Within 42 seconds of sending that message Patel, of Carham Road, Blackburn, had killed the pair, and next used his mobile to ring the emergency services, the court heard.

Mr McEntee said: “The defendant did not brake or swerve as he drove his car. We say the pedestrians were clearly visible in the middle of the road.

“The reason that he did not see them in broad daylight was he was more interested in his mobile phone than the road ahead.”

The prosecutor told jurors they would hear evidence from other drivers who saw the group “dawdling somewhat” in the road as they approached up the hill into the city centre.

He said that when interviewed by police the defendant said his final text message was sent while his vehicle was stationary at traffic lights well before the collision took place.

Mr McEntee

said Patel later said the message was sent at a different set of lights nearer the scene.

During his defence Patel, who was on a shopping trip to Preston with his mother and sister as passengers, said he texted his girlfriend before he set off and was in possession of his mobile phone and an e-cigarette machine.

He admitted to texting his girlfriend while stationary at traffic lights on the roundabout approaching Brockholes Brow but denied having it in his hand at the time of the impact.

atel had pleaded not guilty to causing the deaths of the pair but a jury took just 41 minutes to find him guilty on two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Patel was also banned from driving for nine years.

Speaking after the sentencing, senior crown prosecutor Tom Snape said: “Evidence showed that there was just a matter of seconds between Mohmed Patel sending a text message while driving, and him colliding with the victims as they crossed the road.

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