Documents released at the sentencing of Mohmed Salman Patel outline the use of a mobile phone in connection with the crash.Advertisement
The Crown Prosecution Service argued Patel, 26, was using his mobile phone, based on text message logs, seconds before the crash in Brockholes Brow.
Patel was sentenced to six years in prison for causing the deaths of Rachel Marie Murphy,23 and Shelby Lauren Maher, 17.
20 April 2016
Megan Blakey and Rachel Murphy had gone to Thomas Kearns house, where they were later joined by Shelby Maher and Liam Finlayson.
Thomas Kearns and Liam Finlayson had already crossed the A59, Brockholes Brow, and walked ahead while the three girls were crossing the road.
Mohmed Salman Patel drove his BMW 320 SE from Blackburn up Brockholes Brow and collided with the three girls, Rachel, Megan and Shelby at 18:38. His mother and sister were in the car.
Texts messages to his girlfriend ‘Nissu’ had been found on Mr Patel’s phone prior to the incident and around the same time of the collision.
Within 42 seconds of sending a text message to his girlfriend, Mr Patel collided with the girls.
David Smith was driving his black Peugeot 206 on the approach to Brokholes Brow in lane one when he saw males and females ahead of him in the road crossing from the golf course to the woods. The group were distance enough from Mr Smith’s car and he changed gears as he slowed up the hill.
Mr Smith then notices a BMW overtaking him in the outside lane, going quite quick with no sign of braking as it approached the group. Mr Smith estimates there was enough room for the BMW to move into his lane in front of him. It appeared to Smith that the BMW driver didn’t realise the group was there.
Wasim Akhtar was driving a silver Audi A6 along the A59 in lane one as he approached Brockholes Brow. It was daylight, fine weather and the road was dry. As he started to go up the hill he noticed four people who appeared to be standing in the middle of the road, in the second lane. They appeared to hesitate when crossing.
Mr Akhtar decided to brake to slow down and saw a blue BMW pass him in the second lane, two or three seconds in front of him. He saw the BMW collide with the girls, and the boy managed to get away. Mr Akhtar said the BMW didn’t brake until after the collision. He saw one of the girls flung up in the air, landing on the road. Another limped across the road holding her leg – this was Megan.
Sadly Rachel died instantly at the scene, Shelby and Megan were taken to hospital where Shelby died later that evening.
PC Foley attended the scene, took details from Mr Patel and seized his mobile phone.
5 May 2016
Mr Patel is interviewed for the first time.
He said “As I’ve come on to the A59 I’ve not seen any pedestrians whatsoever I heat a loud bang my windscreen smashes, I pulled up and that’s when I seen the people on the road.
“It was a bright sunny day the A59 as you are probably aware it’s got a bend and then another bend, so as I’m going across there is a car on my left hand side, I’m in the second lane, like I said there’s been no pedestrians whatsoever I’ve seen, next thing you know I hear a loud bang my windscreen smashes and I’m thinking why has my windscreen smashed? I’ve pulled over to the left and I’ve come out my car and then I’ve seen what I’ve seen.
“The very next thing I was aware of I looked and my mum suffers from hemiplegic migraines so when things like this happen she does have a fit and it can end up worser than what did happen on the day, so then I’ve tried to look round to see what I’ve hit and I’ve not seen anything so I’ve pulled over normally and asked my sister to assist my mother, I’ve told her to come out the car and I’ve seen obviously two people in the road and that’s when I’ve dialled the 999.”
18 May 2017
Patel, of St Michael’s Road, Blackburn, appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court during Thursday (18 May) charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
Patel was granted unconditional bail and was due to appear at Preston Crown Court on 20 June.
20 June 2017
Patel answered charges at Preston Crown Court, dressed in a dark blue suit. He spoke only to confirm his identity and enter his pleas.
Patel denied he was driving dangerously at the time of the collision.
Judge Robert Altham granted him bail but ordered Patel to attend the trial and any pre-trial hearings at Preston Crown Court.
15 January 2018
Patel faces trial at Preston Crown Court.
Jurors failed to reach a verdict.
Patel faces retrial at Preston Crown Court.
Jury finds the defendant guilty on two counts of dangerous driving.
7 August 2018
Sentencing at Preston Crown Court. The families of the victims watched on as Justice Altham sentences Patel to six years in prison and disqualification from driving for nine years.
The mother of Shelby Maher says Patel’s sentence ‘does not reflect justice’. She says she, her family, and Rachel’s family have already received a life sentence.