Motorist texting moments before fatal road collision jailed

|News, Driving offences

A motorist who was texting shortly before a fatal collision which killed two pedestrians has been jailed after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Rachel Murphy and Shelby Maher died after Mohmed Patel collided with them in his BMW 3 Series as they crossed the A59 near Preston with a group of friends.

He has been sentenced today to six years’ imprisonment.  

Patel, 26, had been using his mobile phone while driving on the evening of 20 April 2016 and had sent a text message 42 seconds before he called 999 to report the incident.

He admitted he had not seen the group ahead of him before the collision and as a result did not use his brakes or attempt to avoid them.  

Three of the group were hit. Rachel Murphy, 23, died at the scene of the collision and Shelby Maher, 17, died soon after arriving at hospital.

Another young woman in the group was also injured and was in hospital for several days. A passenger in Patel’s car suffered minor injuries.

Patel was yesterday (6 August) found guilty of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving following a trial at Preston Court.

Tom Snape from the CPS said:

“Evidence showed that there was just matter of seconds between Mohmed Patel sending a text message while driving, and him colliding with the victims as they crossed the road.

“While Patel pleaded guilty to careless driving, the CPS was not prepared to accept his plea to the lesser charge.

“His actions in texting while behind the wheel were shown to be dangerous, and that moment of deliberate distraction by his mobile phone had tragic consequences for the family and friends of Rachel and Shelby. Our thoughts are with them.”  


Notes to editors

  • Tom Snape is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in CPS North West
  • Mohmed Salman Patel (29/12/1991) was convicted on 6 August 2018 following a trial at Preston Crown Court


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