Sheffield taxi driver narrowly avoids prison for driving at cyclist in 'moment of madness'

A Sheffield taxi driver has narrowly avoided being sent to prison, after he drove at a cyclist in a 'moment of madness' and caused her to fall off her bike.

By Sarah Marshall
Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 6:35 pm

The incident took place at just after 9am on January 26 last year, when defendant Iftikhar Ahmed was driving his Volkswagon Passat taxi up Ecclesall Road.

During a hearing held today, Sheffield Crown Court was told how a cyclist riding in front of Ahmed indicated that she was about to overtake a bus that had stopped to allow passengers to alight.

"The taxi you were driving drove forward and blocked her away around the bus. She said that was in spite of the traffic in front of you," Recorder Keir Monteith told Ahmed, of Joshua Road, Nether Edge.

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The incident took place in Ecclesall Road in January last year

He added: "She hit the near side passenger window to talk to you. You opened the window and shouted something aggressive, and she was very frank with the police, and this court, in saying she called you a psycho."

Following the altercation, the bus and the cyclist both began to move off, but Ahmed, 46, drove straight at the cyclist in what Recorder Monteith described as a 'moment of madness'.

She fell off her bike, and subsequently told police she fell because Ahmed hit her with his taxi.

The cyclist suffered a sprained wrist, grazing to her knees and bruising to her hip.

In a victim impact statement submitted to the court, the cyclist said she did not want Ahmed to be sent to prison - but asked for him to be banned from driving.

Ahmed pleaded guilty to a single count of dangerous driving on the first day of his scheduled trial yesterday.

He pleaded guilty on the basis that he did not physically hit the cyclist with his taxi, but caused her to fall and injure herself by driving towards her.

Jeremy Barton, defending, said: "This defendant behaved, and drove, in the most dreadful way. He's lost his license, he's lost his license to drive as a taxi driver.

"He has suffered significant stress as a result of his own stupidity. He has suffered, his family have suffered, which he accepts is his own doing."

A number of character references were submitted to the court on Ahmed's behalf, from people including city councillors and representatives from the Sheffield Islamic Centre and his former employer, City Taxis.

Recorder Monteith sentenced Ahmed to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, ordered him to complete 280 hours of unpaid work as well as a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement through the Better Drivers programme.

He also banned him from driving for 18 months, after which time he will be required to take an extended driving test should he wish to hold a full license again.

"Luckily, she was wearing a helmet. I want you to pause and think about how horrendous this could have been for her, and then you, if she wasn't wearing a helmet. Fortunately she was, and the helmet took most of the impact," said Recorder Monteith.

He added: "I accept that the complainant must have felt scared and vulnerable."

Recorder Monteith said he was able to 'reluctantly' suspend Ahmed's prison sentence, after Mr Barton's mitigation on his behalf just put him on to the 'right side' of the sentencing guidelines.