Drink driver jailed for death of pizza delivery boy - Watford

20/07/2012

A pizza delivery rider was killed when the van that had knocked him off his scooter jumped forward and crushed him to death. Afghan refugee Waheed Shariarty, 19, was lying in the road when drink driver Paul Collings turned the ignition back on not realising his Citroen Belingo was still in gear. The van leapt forward 4.5 feet and crushed the teenager as he lay on Courtland Road, Watford, Herts.

On Friday, 20 July 2012,  at St Albans Crown Court the driver Paul Collings, 48, of Haines Way, Watford was jailed for three and a half years after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was banned from driving for four and a half years and ordered to take an extended retest.

Johnathan Dunne, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Collings, who admitted drinking six or seven cans of Kronenbourg, drove the mile from his home to collect his winnings from the bookmaker's on the evening of 24 April last year. The van did not have an MOT and had a bald tyre.

The Berlingo van was parked near to the kerb. The defendant tried to do a U turn. A witness Susan Stone saw the small white van turn sharply cross the road. It struck the scooter rider who did not stand a chance and was thrown into the road.

"Susan Stone went to help and told him to lie still. He was moaning. Then she heard the engine roar and the van shot forward over his body. She was in shock at what she saw and grabbed the keys from the defendant,,"said Mr Dunne.

Collings was to tell the police that his mobile phone needed charging as he wanted to call his mother when the accident happened. He turned the ignition on not realising that the van was still in gear and it jumped forward.

Mr Dunne said: "After knocking the scooter rider off he stayed in the van and tried to charge his phone by turning the engine on. No significant injury was caused by the initial impact. He was killed by the weight of the van on his chest."

Collings gave a drink drive reading of 6 - the legal limit is 35. He was of previous good character but had nine points on his licence at the time of the accident.

The court heard Waheed was the only son of his Afghan parents and was trying to provide for them.

Terry Munyard, defending, said at the time Collings was out of work because of a leg injury. His relationship had broken up and he was being treated for depression. He said he had left home that night to collect his modest winnings.

When he hit the scooter he said glass smashed in the van and Collings was seen to have blood pouring down the side of his head.

"He had not realised the vehicle was in gear when he turned the ignition on. The car went forward four and a half feet. He was in tears and very shocked. It was a dreadful incident. His remorse is genuine and it will live with him for the rest of his life," said Mr Munyard.

Judge John Plumstead told him: "It was not a journey that should have been made. You had drunk 6 or 7 tins of beer. You made a terrible error in turning across the road. In your shocked and befuddled state you utterly failed to control your vehicle. It jumped forward and crushed the life from a man 30 years younger than you. You drank too much and thought too little.

"This young man was at the beginning of his life. He was working for the benefit of his family. He had left a dangerous and scary part of the world to deliver pizzas in Watford and your wrong doing caused his death."

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