Two men have denied causing a woman’s death in a head-on crash after chasing two other cars from Banbury to Gaydon over 'bad blood'.
Elizabeth Roberts, 80, from Broughton, was killed after a BMW hit the car she was travelling in with her daughter head-on on the B4451 near the M40 junction 12 in 2017.
The BMW driver, Sagan Taseem, 26, of Evenlode, Banbury, and his passenger Naqash Hussain, 29, of Prescott Avenue, Banbury, have both pleaded not guilty to causing the death of Mrs Roberts by dangerous driving.
With them in the dock is Kieran Flint, 21, of Barley Hill, Banbury, who has denied a charge of dangerous driving over his alleged role earlier in the chase.
A fourth man, Samuel Franklin, 24, of Warkworth Close, Banbury, has pleaded guilty to causing the pensioner’s death by dangerous driving, even though he was not involved in the actual collision.
At Warwick Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday, January 22), Prosecutor Simon Davis said the fatal cash on February 15, 2017, followed a chase of eight-and-a-half to nine miles which began on the Hanwell Estate, triggered by ‘some bad blood' between Flint, Taseem and Hussain.
He said the prosecution case was that Taseen and Hussain were both responsible for the BMW being driven dangerously, and therefore for Mrs Roberts’ death, as was Franklin, who had pleaded guilty to the charge.
Flint later said he was with his girlfriend in his red Ford Fiesta when Taseem and Hussain came up behind them in a white BMW and there was a chase through Hanwell village, during which his girlfriend called Franklin for help.
He said they headed north on the B4100 pursued by the BMW, and met up with Franklin in his VW Jetta along the way.
But Taseem and Hussain said they were outside a friend’s house when a Fiesta and a Jetta pulled up behind them and the doors opened and, according to Hussain, ‘eight or nine lads got out,’ so Taseem decided to drive off.
They said both cars started to chase them, and they ended up on the B4100 where the Fiesta tried to ram them off the road.
But Mr Davis said that others drivers had spoken of being overtaken at high speed by the Fiesta, quickly followed by the BMW, and he commented: “It wasn’t the Fiesta and the Jetta chasing the BMW, it was the BMW being the cat and the Fiesta the mouse.”
A few moments later, those drivers saw the Fiesta had dangerously stopped in the middle of the busy road, with the Jetta alongside having come in the opposite direction.
With Flint blocking the BMW in, Franklin got out of his car and began kicking it, at which Taseem began to shunt Flint’s Fiesta out of the way before scraping past the side of it.
He then sped off, with the Fiesta following on behind and Franklin doing a U-turn before taking over the chase.
The BMW and the Jetta both went through a red light to make the right turn onto the B4451 dual carriageway, weaving in and out of the rush hour traffic already on the road.
“Within moments the traffic heading towards the M40 junction appeared to stop. The Jetta had caught up with the BMW and hit it from behind," Mr Davis said.
And the BMW then turned around in the traffic and headed back the way it had come, with Taseem driving at speed the wrong way along the dual carriageway in the face of oncoming traffic.
Mr Davis said: “Sheila Wilson was on her way home with her mum. She had also seen the BMW and the Jetta. They had passed her too, and she was pleased they were ahead of her out of the way.
“She was in the outside lane when the BMW came towards her Fiesta and collided with it. She had nowhere to go, she could not avoid it, and unfortunately her mother died as a result.”
Meanwhile, the Jetta had carried on to the nearby traffic lights where it did also did a u-turn, but onto the correct side of the road, and headed back along the road before stopping in the fast lane opposite the site of the crash.
Franklin got out and went over to the crashed cars – but not to try to help, because he began striking the BMW with something as Taseem and Hussain got out and ran from the scene.
Flint arrived at a nearby petrol station soon after, and there must have been further contact between him and his friend, because Franklin ended up in the Fiesta.
Mr Davis pointed out that Taseem and Hussain’s defence was that they had acted out of duress, in fear for their safety.
Taseem claimed there were ‘ten of them’ in the other two cars, and that after he was rammed by the Jetta they were going to jump him – and that he had no choice other than to do a u-turn and go the wrong way along the dual carriageway to get away.
The trial continues.