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JAILED: Teen driver killed 80-year-old while racing on A449 in rush hour

By John Scott | Bushbury | Crime | Published:

Rabin Mahmood drove away after hitting former Goodyear worker Hopton Gayle on Stafford Road.

Hopton Gayle, left, was hit by a car driven by Rabin Mahmood. right

A teenage tearaway who killed a great grandfather while racing another motorist through rush hour traffic has been locked up for three years nine months.

Rabin Mahmood was doing over 61mph in a 40 zone in a VW Golf when he ploughed into 80-year-old former Goodyear worker Hopton Gayle who was on a pelican crossing on the A449 Stafford Road, a judge heard.

It is unclear whether the lights were on red or green for oncoming traffic when tragedy struck but experts said the pedestrian would have made it safely to the other side of the road if the 19-year-old student had been travelling within the speed limit.

Mr Gayle, from Aethelred Court, a sheltered housing scheme in Leverton Rise, Wolverhampton, was flung into the air by the impact which smashed the windscreen of the VW and wrecked the front of the car, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Police in Stafford Road in the aftermath of the crash in February 2018

Mahmood stopped to punch a hole in the windscreen for him to look through and push the distorted bonnet back into shape before driving off, leaving the victim – who suffered serious head injuries – to die at the scene in Stafford Road, Oxley.

Racing in rush hour

The VW and a Subaru Impreza had been weaving in an out of traffic, undercutting other motorists while careering down the busy dual carriageway at around 6pm on February 19 last year, said Mrs Sati Ruck, prosecuting.

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She continued: “Both slowed down for a speed camera, which unfortunately was not working, before accelerating away again.

"He was travelling at 61mph while under breaking after the pedestrian crossing.”

Rabin Mahmood punched a hole in the windscreen before driving off

One of Mr Gayle’s daughters unwittingly walked past the scene after the body had been covered by a blanket, the court heard.

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She did not realise the victim had been her own father until 20 hours later.

Abandoned

The defendant abandoned his car further down the road after putting the number plates in the boot where they were found by police who quickly discovered he was the registered keeper of the car.

He was not at home when they called but they left a message and he gave himself up soon afterwards.

Initially he suggested the Subaru might have hit the deceased but CCTV showed it was several seconds behind his car, revealed the prosecutor.

Mr Gayle came to this country in 1955, had been married for 54 years and worked at Goodyear for 34 years.

He and his wife have two daughters, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren, the court was told.

His widow said: “He was a real gentleman. I have lost not only my husband but also my best friend. I will never forget his smiling face.”

Mahmood, of previous good character and from Bransdale Close, Farndale Estate, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, not stopping after an accident and having no insurance.

He was sent to a Young Offenders Institution and banned from driving for four years on release by Judge Simon Ward who told him: “Mr Gayle didn’t have a chance.”

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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