Driver cleared of causing death of six-year-old girl in Oldbury Road crash
A woman motorist who knocked down and killed a six-year-old girl on a traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossing has been acquitted of causing the death by dangerous or careless driving.
Mr Rafiqul Islam was taking Jannatul Bakya, and her seven-year-old sister Sadia, to their mosque when she was struck by a Ford Fiesta driven by Andjele Vranjes in Oldbury Road, Smethwick, at 10.50pm on July 28, 2018.
The young girl, who was slightly ahead of her father and sister as they crossed the road, was flung 22 metres by the impact and suffered "catastrophic" injuries.
Experts estimated she was on the crossing between 1.27 and 3.21 seconds before being hit, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
She was certified dead at the scene which was not covered by CCTV and so there was no evidence to show if the traffic lights at the dual carriageway's pedestrian crossing were on red or green for oncoming traffic when tragedy struck.
The defendant and father of the deceased were each equally adamant that it was in their favour and told the jury they were "100 per cent" certain of this.
Two collision investigation experts concluded the 28-year-old defendant was travelling at between 31mph and the 40mph speed limit in her red Ford Fiesta while covering the 40 metres between the Spon Lane South traffic island exit and the Oldbury Road pedestrian crossing.
She admitted that she was accelerating and changing from second to third gear because she maintained the traffic light was showing green and ploughed into the child without braking after not seeing her until the "last second."
The defendant made a fleeting stop before driving off to her nearby home but returned soon afterwards to give herself up to police at the scene, saying to one officer: "Can you tell if the lights were on red or not? I think it was green but if it was red I will take full responsibility."
The following day Vranjes gave a police interview during which she conceded: "I could have been a little more careful."
She dismissed these comments by explaining to the court that in the immediate after effect of the tragedy she "felt terrible at what had happened" and wanted to "beat herself up."
The defendant, who had a clean ten year old UK driving licence, told the jury: "I now believe I was as cautious and careful as I should have been."
The recently married defendant was unused to driving in the dark and, at the time of the accident, was not wearing spectacles prescribed for her short sight.
She was born and brought up in Oxford but had moved to Beakes Road, Bearwood, around four months before the accident and was working as an assistant retail manager at Debenhams Birmingham store. She is of previous good character.