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'Selfish' Audi driver admits causing death of great grandfather after crash on busy Warley road

By Robert Cox | Oldbury | Crime | Published:

A personal trainer who sped along the busy Wolverhampton Road in Warley at "motorway speeds" in a high-performance Audi has admitted causing the death of an elderly man by driving dangerously.

Wolverhampton Crown Court

Kamran Raja was driving the four-litre Audi Quattro S4, derived from a rally car, at 79mph on the 40mph stretch of the A4123 at the time of the crash on April 2 last year.

The Audi, which had its roof down, smashed into a Honda Jazz being driven by 85-year-old Edward Harris, who had been to church and was travelling home having dropped his daughter off minutes earlier, giving her a final kiss goodbye. Both cars were lifted off the road and the Honda was propelled 30m (98ft) from where the crash took place at the junction with Castle Road East.

The great-grandfather, who had lived nearby, was able to walk from his car but died the following day at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after suffering ‘multiple organ failure’.

Raja, of Gospel Farm Road, Acocks Green, had denied causing death by dangerous driving and since Monday had been standing trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

But the 37-year-old dramatically changed his plea yesterday (WED).

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and will be disqualified from driving for five years following his release.

The court heard the father-of-four had a long record of previous driving offences for which he had spent some time behind bars, including occasions when he had lied to police about his identity.

Judge Simon Ward, said: "Your driving was incredibly dangerous. The Wolverhampton Road is one of the busiest arterial routes through the Black Country.

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"The central reservation is criss-crossed with gaps for cars to cross. Anyone who drives it knows cars need to slow down and stop and they will turn across the carriageway.

"There are traffic lights, schools, buses and houses. None of that mattered to you in the slightest.

"Your driving record before this is appalling. It shows you are a selfish man. You drive fast cars, because you want to, with no insurance and no licence, and at insane speeds."

Prosecutor, Mr Antonie Muller, added: "This was motorway speeds on a residential road."

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The court heard Raja was a personal trainer and worked at three gyms in Birmingham.

Defending him, Mr Graeme Simpson said his client had been "devastated" by what he did.

Annette Hall, Mr Harris's daughter who had been to Our Lady and St Hubert’s church with him the day of the crash, said his heart had been "as big as an ocean."

She added: "He was a gift beyond compare. We never had a chance to say goodbye and to thank him."

Mr Harris had been trying to cross Wolverhampton Road from Castle Road West onto Castle Road East.

In a defence statement submitted to the courts, Raja had claimed Mr Harris was responsible for the crash, but this was not pursued during the trial.

Robert Cox

By Robert Cox
Senior Reporter - @rcox_star

Senior Reporter covering news in Wolverhampton.

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