Two drivers who hit and killed a popular butcher while racing along a Todmorden road have been jailed.
Wayne Stansfield, 48, of J.T Stansfield Butchers, was killed in March last year when he was struck by two vehicles as he crossed Halifax Road, Todmorden.
Fiaz Shah, 27, of Burnley Road, Cornholme, and Mohammed Islam, 30, of Wellington Road, Todmorden, admitted at a hearing in December causing the death of Mr Stansfield by dangerous driving.
Last Friday, Bradford Crown Court heard how on the night of March 15, 2015, the defendants were racing down Halifax Road - Islam in an Audi A3 and Shah in a Toyota Yaris - at a “grossly excessive” speed on the 30mph limit town centre road.
Prosecutor Jonathan Sharpe told the court that the speed at which the pair were driving was obvious to a number of people.
One witness said the cars were travelling so fast that their front door shook as they passed. Others reported hearing revving engines and seeing the second car sat on the bumper of the first.
Mr Sharpe said CCTV from the night showed both cars would have been travelling at more than 20mph over the legal speed limit for that stretch of road.
That night, Mr Stansfield and a friend had been in the Duke of York pub and as they began to cross the road at the pedestrian lights, the cars sped down the road.
Mr Stansfield’s friend saw Islam’s car swerve towards him and ran to the pavement, but as Islam swerved, the car hit Mr Stansfield.
He was then run over by the Yaris, which had undertaken the Audi, and dragged ten metres along the road under the car before Shah came to a stop.
Mr Sharpe said that, in questioning, Islam claimed he was travelling on the road, not at excessive speed, when he saw three males but was unable to stop in time.
Shah admitted he knew Islam and said he was travelling behind the Audi and had steered to the left to avoid a collision. Both cars showed the force of impact of Mr Stansfield’s body.
The court heard that witnesses at the scene had to lift the Yaris off Mr Stansfield so emergency services could get to him and despite attempts at CPR, Mr Stansfield was pronounced dead at the scene at 9.22pm.
Oliver Jarvis, representing Islam, said he accepted that it was a racing case, but said his client was of “impeccable character” prior to the events of that night.
Mr Jarvis said Islam was driving home that night and that Shah had come up behind him in his vehicle. He did not realise it was him and they ended up flying down the road.
He added that Islam was struggling to come to terms with what had happened, had deep remorse and was ashamed and sorry for his driving that night.
Timothy Clark, representing Shah, said the defendant, who has previous convictions and was on license at the time, accepted he was facing a jail term and “apologises to all those affected by his actions and knows that will be little or no comfort.” Mr Clark added: “He knows they are devastated and says he is truly sorry.”
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC jailed Shah for six years and Islam for four years and eight months, also banning them from driving for the same periods of time respectively.
The court heard a victim impact statement from Mr Stansfield’s wife, Lisa, which told of the devastating impact her husband’s death had upon her and their daughter, Josie.
“It’s devastation, shock and despair.
“We don’t feel like we have a life anymore. Wayne was Todmorden, he was so well known and we are both unable to go there anymore.
“The shop is there as if nothing has changed, but everything has changed. We find it difficult to drive down Halifax Road and we have been robbed of our future.
“Josie would have had a dad to walk her down the aisle, to rely on him in times of need.
“That has been destroyed, I feel as though I have lost my protector.”
Jailing Shah for six years and Islam for four years and eight months, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said: “That man was a truly worthy man, a fine gentleman.
“Nobody could believe what happened or how it could happen at the hands of two younger men living in the Todmorden community.
“You have heard what your actions have caused - utter devastation - to his wife, family and friends.
“There was another impact, the community impact. Todmorden shut down in honour of this man.
“It’s difficult to understand what you were thinking as you raced down that thoroughfare.
“I do come to the conclusion that there was such a great danger of death.
“You just ignored it. For those minutes, the thrill of the race meant you could not care less.”
Speaking to Wayne’s friends and family who were present in court, Judge Durham Hall said: “If I could have done any more, I would have done.”