Death crash driver avoids prison

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Victim, Manzoor Begum, 85, was returning from grandson’s engagement

A CARELESS driver who caused the death of a grandmother after speeding on a roundabout has been spared a prison sentence.

85-year-old victim Manzoor Begum died after the Audi she was travelling in was struck by a Ford Punto, driven by Vincenzo Vecchio, on the A603 Cardington Road, in Bedford, on 28 November last year.

Vecchio, of Risborough Road, Bedford, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court on Friday 11 December to causing the death of Mrs Begum by careless driving.

He was given a 26-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months, with an 18-month driving ban. Vecchio will also have to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and abide by a night time curfew for six months and pay £1,500 costs.

Prosecutor Bozzie Sheffi told the court Vecchio crashed into an Audi car in which the victim was a rear seat passenger. She died of her injuries on 15 December 2008. Mrs Begum was returning to Peterborough with her family after celebrating her grandson’s engagement in Bedford.

Vecchio was driving two girls into Bedford for a social evening. The driver of the Audi, Mrs Begum’s son Mehboob Ahmed, was waiting to join the roundabout at Cardington cross when he saw a red car coming very fast, and as it joined the A603, crashed into the Audi.

Miss Sheffi said the accident was caused by Vecchio’s excessive speed on the bend of the roundabout which caused him to lose control. In his inexperience he braked which may have compounded the effect.

She read extracts from an impact statement from the family of Mrs Begum who was a great grandmother. It said: “She was our world and we were her’s. She was loved by people across the world.” But they also said they accepted Vecchio was remorseful and had not intended any harm.

Andel Singh, defending, said: “He has shown extreme remorse about this matter and is grateful that Mrs Begum’s family accept that. There is no drink or drug aspect and he was driving responsibly beforehand. His speed at worst was 6mph over the safe speed for the roundabout. He tried to help at the scene and co-operated with police.”

Judge Richard Foster said: “Nothing I do today can help that family in their grief at their loss and the tragic circumstances in which it occurred. You were going slightly above the safe speed and lost control. You have to live with the consequences and that is probably a far worse punishment than this court can hand out. I think there will be no purpose in sending you into custody.”

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