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6th Jul, 2022

Death crash van driver jailed for eight years

A VAN driver who killed an innocent motorist by ploughing head-on into his car while overtaking a line of traffic in south Warwickshire on a blind bend has been jailed for eight years.

And although he had expressed condolences for the family of his victim, Cotswolds man John Ferris, a judge observed Mohammed Albannai had ‘fought the case despite overwhelming evidence.’

The 46-year-old had pleaded not guilty to causing the death on Mr Ferris by driving dangerously on the A429 between Ettington and Halford.

But he was convicted after a trial at Warwick Crown Court where, following an adjournment for a report to be prepared on him, Albannai, of Mustang Way, Swindon, was jailed and banned from driving for seven years.

Prosecutor Samantha Crabb said the crash took place as it was getting dark at 5.15pm on January 19 last year.

Albannai was driving his Mercedes Vito van south along the A429 from the direction of Warwick in what other motorists described as an aggressive manner.

Then, on a long bend where it was impossible for him to see whether the opposite side of the road was clear ahead of him, he pulled out to overtake two cars and a HGV.

“He could not possibly have been able to ascertain there was no oncoming traffic,” observed Miss Crabb.

“That driving had devastating consequences because he drove straight into the path of Mr Ferris who was driving his Ford Mondeo in the opposite direction.

“Mr Ferris was on the correct side of the road, and was confronted by the defendant’s van completely in his path, and the impact was full-on.

“Although the defendant was able to walk away from his vehicle, the consequences for Mr Ferris were fatal, and he was pronounced dead at the scene shortly afterwards.”

Albannai insisted his driving was not dangerous, but Miss Crabb argued that the evidence was overwhelming.

Albannai blamed other drivers for not allowing him back in after he had started overtaking, and suggested they had been speeding up and slowing down to prevent him getting back in.

That was dismissed as “nonsense” by Miss Crabb.

David Jones, defending, said although Albannai had contested the matter, when he was interviewed by the police, he had shown remorse by asking officers to pass his condolences to Mr Ferris’s family.

Jailing Albannai, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “In the early evening after dark Mr Ferris was driving on the A429, and he had no way of knowing you were overtaking traffic on a blind bend.

“He had no chance whatsoever to avoid the collision, and he tragically died of the severe injuries he received.

“You kept swerving out to see if you could overtake a line of traffic, and your driving was described as ‘idiotic’ and ‘breathtaking,’ overtaking on a blind bend.

“You say you are sorry, but you fought the case despite the overwhelming evidence. This was a prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of bad driving.

“Mr Ferris was a loved and respected man. Recently remarried, he and his new husband were on the threshold of their new life together. You have taken that away.

“There is nothing you or I can do to take away the pain of Mr Ferris’s grieving family. His life is priceless. He had lived a blameless life, a very hard-working family man with four teenage sons.”

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