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Keighley dad hits out over driver’s sentence
7:00am Thursday 20th February 2014 in Keighley
A Keighley dad whose daughter was left fighting for her life after being mown down by a teenage driver fleeing police has hit out at the “lenient” sentence handed down by a judge.
Haider Mumtaz, 18, who ran off after ploughing into the woman in North Queen Street, Keighley, has been jailed for two years.
But the father of the 22-year-old victim, whose identity we’ve agreed to protect, said the punishment did not match the crime.
“It’s not enough – he will be back out on the streets in no time,” he said.
“I just don’t think the seriousness of the crime is reflected in the sentence.
“She was critically ill in hospital for some time afterwards, and it was quite incredible she lived. She’s still suffering now – she has headaches, struggles with concentration and has lost her sense of taste.”
Mumtaz, of Swallow Street in Keighley, appeared at Bradford Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced for causing serious injury through dangerous driving. He had admitted the offence at an earlier hearing.
Prosecuting, Philip Adams said on July 23 last year, police were called to reports of a suspicious vehicle in Keighley centre. Plain-clothes officers attended but Mumtaz recognised them and drove off, encountering a patrol car, swerving and driving away at speed.
At North Queen Street, with police in pursuit, he lost control of the car. Witnesses said the car was revving loudly and skidding.
After mounting the pavement and striking a building, he hit the woman who was crossing the road with her boyfriend, who tried to pull her clear. But she was struck by the car and thrown on to the bonnet.
The car carried on with her still on the bonnet. When it hit a parked car she was thrown on to the ground, hitting her head. Mumtaz got out and ran off with two other men, who were passengers.
The woman was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary with a fractured skull, bruising to the brain and other injuries. She was in hospital for five days.
Mumtaz told his sister what had happened and that he thought the woman might be dead. He handed himself in the next day.
In mitigation, Mumtaz’s barrister, Stephen Wood, said: “He is sorry for what he did.
“He pleaded guilty at an early stage. This is a very vulnerable young man who went through special needs education.
“He is apt to fall under the spell of people more sophisticated and worldly-wise than he is. Bluntly: people who use him.
“His family are decent and supportive but do not condone what he did. They have tried their best to separate him from these outside pernicious influences, and intend that he moves away from Keighley and away from those influences.
“They do not want him to become criminally sophisticated, and fear that might happen if he gets a custodial sentence.”
Appealing for a suspended sentence, Mr Wood asked Judge David Hatton QC: “Allow him to mature; to address his difficulties. Give him another chance.”
Judge Hatton told Mumtaz: “You drove in a wholly irresponsible manner in your bid to fly the attentions of police.
“You lost control and struck a young woman going about her quiet and lawful business, causing her severe injuries, from which she has not fully recovered. You did not immediately stop, and when you did, you ran away, but had the decency to hand yourself in.
“I am reducing the sentence significantly for your early guilty plea. Regrettably, I cannot suspend sentence.”
Mumtaz was sentenced to two years in a young offenders’ institute and disqualified from driving for two years, and must take a driving test before he can again hold a licence.