Crash for cash fatal collision final defendant jailed - Denham

14/04/2014

The final defendant standing trial at Reading Crown Court for the landmark fatal Crash for Cash collision, which occurred on 11 June 2011, was convicted and jailed for nine years on Friday, 11 April 2014.

This case was the first of its kind in the country,  as the deliberately caused accident arranged as part of a plan to commit insurance fraud led to a second collision causing the death of an innocent member of the public.

Ireneusz Marek Staniak,  aged 43,  from Berners Avenue,  Ealing,  was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

He was sentenced to nine years'  imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving and three months in prison to run concurrently for the fraud.  Staniak is required to serve a minimum of half his sentence with the remainder on licence.

He has also been disqualified from driving for five years and will be required to pass an extended re-test.

Six people have already been sentenced for their involvement in the fatal road traffic collision,  which happened in Denham and resulted in the death of Baljinder Kaur Gill,  aged 34,  from Stanwell,  near Staines.

Adrian Foster,  Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said:  "This case involved the staging of a road traffic collision for financial gain,  which caused the death of an innocent motorist,  Miss Baljinder Kaur Gill.

"Miss Gill lost her life on 11 June 2011, as a consequence of the coming together of two criminal events.  Firstly, ruthless greed on the part of a gang of men, which led to them choosing the outside lane of the fast moving A40 to contrive their collision, so that they could profit financially from the submission of fraudulent insurance claims.  Secondly,  the careless driving of Colin Lee, which led him to driving into Miss Gill's stationary vehicle at a speed in excess of 50mph, causing her immediate death.

"Her death was Britain's first fatality as a result of 'crash for cash'.  An earlier report from the Insurance Fraud Bureau warned it was merely a matter of time before a death occurred on British roads - sadly prophetic words.  The location chosen for the staged collision created an obvious risk that an innocent motorist would be killed as a result of their greed.

"According to figures from the Insurance Fraud Bureau,  the annual cost to the motor industry of 'crash for cash' is of the order of £392 million.  The risk that these defendants took with the lives of innocent motorists such as Miss Gill was enormous.  The potential advantage to them was comparatively small.  They selfishly placed their own financial gain over and above the life of Miss Gill.

"The 'crash for cash'  scam has increasingly blighted the roads of the UK in the last few years,  placing innocent road users in unnecessary peril.  Annually in excess of 69,000 personal injury claims are suspected of being 'crash for cash.'  The result of this case sends a clear message to those who might consider becoming involved in similar activities that they not only risk the lives of innocent members of the community,  but they will be brought robustly to justice.

"As a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, and especially Sergeant Upton and PC Gibson,  justice has been achieved for the victim and her family and friends. The officers, from Thames Valley Police's Road Death Investigation Team, determined that this was a 'crash for cash' case at an early stage and thereafter pursued what was a complex fraud investigation.

"I hope that this final conviction and sentence will in some way help Miss Gill's family and friends come to terms with this tragic event.  However, we acknowledge that nothing can make up for the loss felt by the family and friends of Miss Gill and our thoughts are very much with them at this difficult time."

Inspector James Upton from the Thames Valley Police Road Death Investigation Team,  said: "This court case involved the last of the defendants to face trial in the fatal Crash for Cash case.

"At the conclusion of this two week trial,  the jury today found Staniak guilty of causing the death of Ms Baljinder Gill by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud.

"As the judge mentioned, there was no doubt that Staniak had entered knowingly and willingly in this criminal enterprise.

"This has been a very long process for the family of Baljinder to endure and I want to pay tribute to them for their patience, dignity and strength throughout the last three years.

"Today's conviction and sentence should serve as both a warning and a reminder to all that there is no place for such criminal activity on our roads.  Thames Valley police are determined to make the roads a safe place for all users and will take every opportunity to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice."

Previously sentenced in February 2013 were (ages on date of sentencing):

  •  Andrzej Boguslaw Skowron, aged 25,  from Shelley Gardens, Wembley,  was sentenced to 10 years for causing death by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud.
  • Radoslaw Piotr Bielawski, aged 24,  from Rosewood Avenue, Greenford was sentenced to 10 years and three months for causing death by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud.  He pleaded guilty to doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice.
  • Jacek Kowalczyk, aged 32,  from Fraser Road, Perivale, Greenford, was sentenced to 10 years and three months for causing death by dangerous driving, conspiracy to commit fraud and doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice.
  • Artur Okrutny,  aged 23,  from Briar Road, London, was sentenced to 12 months for doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice.
  • Colin Lee, aged 32, from York Place, Aylesbury, was sentenced to 12 months for causing death by careless driving.  Lee was not involved in the plans to stage a collision for financial greed but was the driver of the van that fatally collided with the victim.

Subsequently sentenced in September 2013 was (age at time of sentencing):

Michal Mazur, aged 35, one of the group of men involved in the fatal road traffic collision and sentenced on Friday, 27 September 2013, at Reading Crown Court to six and a half years imprisonment .

Michal Mazur pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud earlier last year having been repatriated from his native Poland to stand trial.

He was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in relation to the dangerous driving offence and two months' imprisonment in relation to conspiracy to commit fraud to run concurrently.  He was also disqualified from driving for five years with the requirement of an extended re-test.

The incident happened at around 8.25pm on Saturday,  11 June 2011,  on the A40 Western Avenue, between the Swakeley roundabout and Denham, heading out of London.

Two collisions took place in short succession of each other in lane three. The first was a deliberate act where the Polish defendants used a Volkswagen Passat and an Audi A3 to perform a dangerous manoeuvre to ensure that a collision occurred with an innocent Ford Transit Van and a Ford Fiesta, in order to claim personal injury compensation.

This staged collision then led to a second collision between a Renault Traffic van and the Fiesta, causing Baljinder's death.