Jail for Sheffield driver who killed man and left victim's partner with brain injury

Grahame Smith
Grahame Smith
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A speeding Sheffield driver who killed a man and left the victim's partner with brain injuries after crashing into their vehicle has been jailed - but for less than seven years.

Taiyab Mehmood, aged 22 and of Nottingham Street, Burngreave, was the driver of a Black Seat Leon that was travelling over the speed limit when it crashed into another car, a red Volvo, in Pitsmoor Road on the evening of Tuesday, December 22, last year.

The engine was ripped from Mehmood’s car and the Volvo pushed off the road and into nearby bushes, close to the junction with Pye Bank Road.

The driver of the Volvo, 58-year-old Grahame Smith from Doncaster, died after emergency services tried for 90 minutes to cut him free from the wreckage.

His partner Gillian Heptinstall, then 57, suffered a serious brain injury, fractured elbow, broken arm and fingers and fractured ribs.

A 66-year-old man travelling in the Volvo was also injured, as was Mehmood and two passengers that had been travelling with him.

Mehmood, who had previously admitted causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, was sentenced today to six years and four months in prison at Sheffield Crown Court.

He has also been banned from driving for eight years and two months.

Gillian’s family have now instructed serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to take legal action against Mehmood’s insurers in order to help her access specialist brain injury rehabilitation and support after the crash.

Gillian, who spent 10 days in hospital following the crash, said: “I’m still struggling to come to terms with losing Grahame and the future we would have shared together.

"My life has irreparably changed and has become much more limited while I try to adjust to my injuries and work on my rehabilitation.

“The crash obviously had a huge impact not just on me, but my family and friends too; so it has come as a relief that the driver pleaded guilty so we weren’t forced to relive the events of that night.

“Now I am focusing on my recovery and adjusting to a very different life to the one I had hoped and planned for.”

The couple had been planning to retire together in early 2016 when the crash happened.

Sergeant Steve Askham, from the Serious Collisions Unit, said: “No prison sentence can ever bring Grahame back but I hope that today’s sentencing can offer some comfort to his friends and family.

“Driving dangerously or over the speed limit can have fatal consequences, as demonstrated in this case, anyone found to be driving like that can expect to be prosecuted and brought before the courts.

“Dangerous driving not only puts your own life at risk, but also the life of every other road user.”

Claire Pilsworth, expert serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Gillian and Grahame were on the cusp of retirement when Mehmood’s reckless act destroyed their future.

“While Mehmood’s guilty plea came as a great relief to Gillian and her family, that and today’s sentence cannot begin to undo the damage he has caused to his victims.

“Of course nothing can turn back the clock, but we are now working to secure Gillian the ongoing rehabilitation and support she needs as a result of her injuries.

“We hope today’s sentence serves as a lesson to others of the tragic and far-reaching consequences of dangerous driving.”