Jail for 4x4 driver who ploughed into Crawley Sainsbury's and left little girl with devastating injuries
“An accident’s an accident. It’s over. I need to get on with my new life.”
Those are the words of a driver who ploughed his 4x4 into a Crawley supermarket and left a little girl unable to walk.
Mohsin Mohammed, 41, of Southgate Road, claimed he was in ‘blind panic’ when he lost control of his car in August last year.
His silver Kia had been parked opposite the Queensway Sainsbury’s before it crashed into a car in front, careered across the road and smashed into the store.
Judge Shani Barnes was speechless at Brighton Crown Court on Friday after being shown shocking CCTV footage of the incident.
Mohammed had pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and appeared in court for sentencing.
'Engine revving and a silver car turning directly towards them'
Prosecutor Ryan Richter described how a mum and her two daughters – who cannot be named for legal reasons – were shopping in Crawley on August 29, 2018.
He said: “It was about 4.30pm in the afternoon. Some of the shops were closing but there was still significant pedestrian traffic in the area.
“They heard an engine revving and saw a silver car turning directly towards them.”
The mum and one of her daughters ran into the store to get out of the way and the other child ran outside, the court was told.
“The vehicle followed after them and knocked the girl off to the left hand side and her mother was thrown over the top of a refrigeration unit.”
Girl suffers 'horrific injuries in crash
The girl – then just nine years old – suffered extensive injuries including three broken bones in her left leg and a damaged spleen.
She was taken to St George’s Hospital in London for emergency surgery.
She still cannot walk properly and has had to go to school in a wheelchair, the court heard.
Her mum – who was also hurt in the crash – described how the scary incident has left her and her two daughters devastated.
She said: “My daughters often cry and scream and fear that they will be hurt by a car again.
“We are scared the perpetrator may hurt us further.”
Defendant made 'a series of mistakes'
In an interview with the probation service about the incident, Mohammed told the probation officer: “An accident’s an accident. It’s over. I need to get on with my new life.”
Defence barrister Christopher Prior said the incident was ‘a series of mistakes and failure to get back into control of the vehicle’.
He acknowledged that the results are ‘horrific’ but noted that the medical prognosis for the girl going forward ‘appears to be good’.
He argued that, despite his comments and demeanour, Mohammed is remorseful for what happened.
“There is an element of shock and not wanting to go through what he has done.
“If he were to receive an immediate custodial sentence there is going to be an enormous financial strain put on his wife and their soon to be born child.”
Judge: 'You could have at least put your foot on the brake'
Judge Barnes said: “The ongoing trauma to this family cannot be overstated.
“The two little ones have nightmares, they wake screaming.”
She rejected Mohammed’s claim that the incident was a momentary mistake.
“There was long enough time for this mother and her daughter to run into Sainsbury’s because they could see you were heading for them.
“You could have at least put your foot on the brake.”
She accepted that Mohammed was not drunk and had not set out to hurt anyone with his car.
But she added: “You did everything wrong that ended up causing the serious injuries to that little girl and her family.
“In that short space of time you clearly made a number of serious errors.”
Mohammed was jailed for 16 months and disqualified from driving for two years and eight months.