Driver who killed and injured cyclists in Worcestershire is sentenced
Driver Sania Shabbir who killed one cyclist and seriously injured another in a collision in Worcestershire in 2020 has been imprisoned for 4.5 years.
Posted on 15 June 2023
Shabbir, aged 27 of Redditch, was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday 14th June 2023. After initially pleading not guilty to charges of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Shabbir admitted the crimes on the day her trial was due to start in April.
Her full sentence is 4.5 years’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently with a 2.5 year sentence in respect of the serious injury offence. She was also disqualified from driving for 4 years 9 months, with a condition to pass an extended driving test thereafter.
Cyclists Martyn Gall and James Middleton were hit by a car being driven by Shabbir on the Redditch A441 bypass in Alvechurch, Worcestershire just before 8am on 14 November 2020.
Martyn, 41, was killed and James, now 33, suffered terrible injuries including a serious brain injury and spent four months in hospital. He will suffer lifelong consequences of the collision.
Their families have issued statements following the sentencing.
Martyn’s widow, Diane Gall said:
“It is good to finally see justice done today, to finally close the door on this part of the terrible experience of losing our Martyn. However, although nothing could ease the grief that we are suffering, we could have been spared the distress of a prolonged court process if Sania Shabbir had admitted her guilt two and a half years ago, instead of the day her trial was about to start last month.
“The sentencing of the driver won’t do anything to fill the massive Martyn-shaped hole in our lives which will never go back to normal because nothing is normal for us any more. The day Martyn died, the lives of all of his family and friends were ripped apart and nearly three years later his loss is still unbearable.
“Martyn was everything to all of us, especially me, his wife, and our daughters who lost their dad aged just 15 and 17, when their lives had been full of hope for the future. Instead their world imploded and we are only starting to try to pick up the pieces.
“The court has heard that the utter devastation we have had to face was caused by dangerous driving and it is right that the driver is held accountable for Martyn’s death.
“There had to be justice for Martyn’s death. I am an educator, I teach children the same thing that Martyn and I taught our daughters – to tell the truth and take responsibility, no matter how hard that is. It is some relief to us that there will be accountability for the terrible loss of Martyn’s life.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported our girls and me since Martyn’s death, especially RoadPeace. I will continue to work with them to campaign for safety on the roads and today I just want to say to all drivers that every day people are killed on the roads. Just think about that and don’t be the person whose driving destroys lives.
“We will try to rebuild our lives, but if there is anything Martyn’s death can change for the good, we want it to be safer roads. Since Martyn’s death our girls and I have been supported by RoadPeace who campaign for safer roads for everyone. If I can just make drivers hear my message to drive more carefully so that other families don’t have to go through this, so that their dad, husband, or son, wife, mum or daughter is not killed, then maybe something will come out of the utter hell we have suffered.”
James’ fiancée Antonia Wells said:
"James was just 31 years old, simply out for a bike ride with a friend, doing what he loved best. He expected to return home to his family later that day and continue his life as normal.
“In an instant, one mistake, one lapse in concentration of the driver changed everything. James’s injuries were horrific, he will never be able to live the life he had before that day and together we must live with the consequences of the driver’s actions forever. Despite that, I know that we were the lucky ones as James survived the collision. I want to express our deep sadness that Martyn did not survive.
“So the sentencing is welcome, it’s the least that we can ask for. Being put through the stress and worry of the criminal case hanging over us for two and a half years has been awful. I really hope the driver is sorry for what she’s done and feels remorse. I am relieved that the judge considered the devastating impact that the driver’s actions have had on all our lives and has imposed a sentence in line with James’s ongoing suffering.”
Both families are represented by Leigh Day partner, Bethany Sanders, who said:
“This is a truly tragic case. Many lives were torn apart by the impact of this road traffic collision, and I hope that this sentence serves as a lesson and deterrent to others who drive whilst distracted by their mobile phones. To hear of the messages sent, photographs taken and social media apps used during the course of the Defendant’s journey, was truly shocking. Understandably the victims and their families want to raise awareness of the implications of driving when distracted or not giving full focus when behind the wheel. Cars are potentially dangerous weapons and drivers should take their responsibility to other road users, especially cyclists, very seriously.”
National Road Victim Month: a widow’s story
In National Road Victim Month, widow Diane Gall and her two teenage daughters want others to hear the story of how their beloved husband and dad, Martyn, lost his life in a road collision and the impact that his loss has had on them.