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Former tank gunner Shaun Smith (pictured), 38, has been jailed for five years for causing death by dangerous driving

Former tank gunner Shaun Smith (pictured), 38, has been jailed for five years for causing death by dangerous driving

Former tank gunner Shaun Smith (pictured), 38, has been jailed for five years for causing death by dangerous driving

An ex-soldier has been jailed for five years after causing the death of a woman when he smashed into the side of a Range Rover at 150mph on the M1.

Former tank gunner Shaun Smith, 38, drank eight pints before driving his Audi RS4 at speeds up to 150mph and passing other drivers ‘like a bullet’. 

Just before 11.20pm Smith’s car swerved from the fast lane into the slow lane and ploughed into a Range Rover carrying three friends at junction 23 of the northbound carriageway near East Midlands Airport.

Saarah Moghul, 30, was sitting in the back seat and died instantly. Meanwhile, Ayeesha Quereshi, who was driving, suffered a broken wrist and Annum Khan was left with such severe internal injuries she couldn’t walk two months after the crash.  

Smith, who is beginning a five-year jail sentence for killing Mrs Moghul by dangerous driving, could not remember whether he was travelling north or south before the crash, the court heard.

The two surviving women, who were returning to Bradford with Mrs Moghul from a weekend in London, read out their emotional victim impact statements during the sentencing hearing at Leicester Crown Court last week. 

The car was travelling at 98mph at the time of the impact on September 26 last year, collision investigators found.

Smith, from Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was drinking at pub in Coalville with a friend and told police he couldn’t remember getting into the car or any of the events leading up to the horror smash. 

Motorist Kevin Welsh told police Smith ‘shot past me like a bullet going between the middle and the fast lane’.

He added: ‘I remember thinking, ‘Jesus they must be going at around 150mph’.’

Mr Welsh said he was feeling angry that anyone should be travelling so fast when, about 45 seconds later, he smelled smoke and saw the Audi stopped in the carriageway with flames pouring out of it. The Range Rover was nearby with screams coming from inside.

Just before 11.20pm Smith's car swerved from the fast lane into the slow lane and ploughed into a Range Rover carrying three friends at junction 23 of the northbound carriageway near East Midlands Airport. Pictured, the scene

Just before 11.20pm Smith's car swerved from the fast lane into the slow lane and ploughed into a Range Rover carrying three friends at junction 23 of the northbound carriageway near East Midlands Airport. Pictured, the scene

Just before 11.20pm Smith’s car swerved from the fast lane into the slow lane and ploughed into a Range Rover carrying three friends at junction 23 of the northbound carriageway near East Midlands Airport. Pictured, the scene

Smith, who got out of the burning Audi with only minor injuries, admitted to people who stopped to help that it was his fault and he had drank seven or eight pints before setting off.

He was jailed for five years and banned from driving for eight years after admitting one charge of causing death by dangerous driving and one charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

During the hearing Ms Quereshi sobbed as she addressed Smith in the dock and told him how devastated she was losing her friend of 18 years and ‘the loveliest person on this world’.

She also described reliving the accident in her mind every day in the year since the crash and being unable to pick up her two-year-old son because of her wrist injury.

Mrs Khan also read a statement about the impact of the accident, including the loss of Saarah and the anxiety and physical pain she suffered.

The court heard that on three previous occasions, Smith had been convicted for drink-driving and banned. He was banned a fourth time in 2010 for failing to provide a specimen after being suspected of the same offence.

The two surviving women, who were returning to Bradford with Mrs Moghul from a weekend in London, read out their emotional victim impact statements during the sentencing hearing at Leicester Crown Court (pictured) last week

The two surviving women, who were returning to Bradford with Mrs Moghul from a weekend in London, read out their emotional victim impact statements during the sentencing hearing at Leicester Crown Court (pictured) last week

The two surviving women, who were returning to Bradford with Mrs Moghul from a weekend in London, read out their emotional victim impact statements during the sentencing hearing at Leicester Crown Court (pictured) last week

His barrister, Kevin Waddingham, told the court Smith had seen action in Iraq in 2003 as a gunner in a tank, leaving him with PTSD, and his marriage was in trouble.

Mr Waddingham said: ‘All he can do is accept responsibility and that is something he has done. He will never be free from the weight of his guilt.’

Judge Keith Raynor told Smith he had been ‘driving like a maniac’ and appeared to have either lost control or passed out.

He said: ‘You could not even remember whether you were going north or south. You were in a relatively high-powered car and put your foot down on the accelerator having drunk to excess.’

Family members of both the victims and the defendant cried as the judge summed up the victim impact statements. He highlighted the number of ex-servicemen who left Afghanistan and Iraq traumatised and ended up in prison.

He said: ‘You will join the growing number of service personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who have PTSD and you will be with them in the prison population.’ 

Source: Daily Mail UK

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