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Driver jailed for causing the death of a couple from Wednesbury

A man who caused the death of a husband and wife from Wednesbury in a fatal collision has been jailed for more than eight years.

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Zia Akbar, 31, was driving his Mercedes AMG car along the A34 Fillybrooks on January 16, 2022 when he collided with a Ford C-Max that emerged from the junction of Yarnfield Road, Stone, Staffordshire.

The car struck the driver's side of the Ford, which was spun into the opposing carriageway. The driver, Barry Salt, aged 73, and his wife, Megan Salt, 74, from Wednesbury, were taken to hospital, but died as a result of their injuries.

A 19-year-old woman in the passenger seat of the Ford suffered minor injuries in the incident, while a 26-year-old woman, who was in the front passenger of the Mercedes, suffered serious injuries from which she continues to recover.

Analysis of the Mercedes showed that in the five seconds leading up to the incident Akbar was coasting at 101mph, braking to 75mph at the point of impact despite the 50mph speed limit on the road.

Akbar initially pleaded not guilty in January 2023 to the charge of causing death by dangerous driving, arguing that his driving was careless but not dangerous.

Zia Akbar

A trial was set for October 2023, however, in June of that year, Akbar changed his plea to guilty for the more serious offences. He later asked for his guilty plea to be accepted on the basis that the Ford car had pulled out in front of him, leaving him insufficient time to react.

A Newton hearing was held at Stafford Crown Court on June 13, 2024, in order to hear the disputed facts, where following witness accounts and evidence provided by forensic investigators, it was determined that had he been driving the speed limit, Akbar would have stopped short of the collision.

Akbar, from Plaistow, London, was remanded into custody and later sentenced on July 9 at Stafford Crown Court, where he was ordered to serve eight years and six months behind bars.

Formerly, of East Close, Walton near Stone he was also disqualified from driving for nine years and eight months, with a requirement to take an extended test in the future.

Pc Gavin Knott, from the Staffordshire and West Midlands serious collision investigation unit, said: "Akbar drove at a speed that was wholly dangerous. It was a cold night, with temperatures not much above freezing but regardless Akbar drove at over twice the speed limit into a sweeping bend approaching a busy junction that he was fully aware was there.

"The collision would have been avoidable if Akbar had driven to the conditions that night. His actions have devastated the family of Barry and Megan."

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