Sheffield student fled scene after ploughing into pedestrians over fears he would be mistaken for a terrorist in wake of Westminster attack
Recorder David Preston sentenced 19-year-old Mustafa Hussain to 27-months in prison during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday for one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving during a collision in Firth Park Road, Firth Park on March 24 this year.
Prosecuting, Susan Evans, told the court how in the run-up to the collision taking place, Hussain had attended classes at Longley Sixth Form college and left the premises in a friend's car with two passengers in tow.
Another vehicle left the college at the same time as the one driven by Hussain, and Ms Evans said that while one witness said they saw the two cars racing after leaving the college, this account had not been corroborated by any other witness.
"The defendant was driving at speed on Firth Park Road and he appears to have hit a speed bump and lost control, swung round onto the pavement and hitting a group of pedestrians," Ms Evans told the court. He had been driving at speeds of between 40 and 50mph before hitting the speed bump.
Hussain did not get out of the vehicle and drove off instead, crashing into a van as he made his escape, the court heard.
Dermot Hughes, defending, told the court that the collision took place two days after the Westminster terror attacks in London, and Hussain 'panicked' after seeing people in the area appearing to react negatively to seeing an Asian male driving into a group of pedestrians.
Ms Evans told the court that two men were injured in the collision, one of whom sustained a broken femur that had to be fitted with metal screws. The man also damaged his wrist, and has had to undergo five operations for the injuries he suffered in the collision.
In a victim impact statement, the man said he was still unable to use his right hand some seven months on and was suffering from flashbacks and constant irritability that he believed had resulted in him becoming more isolated from his friends and family.
The second man suffered cuts and bruises in the collision and told the court that he too had suffered from flashbacks, through a victim impact statement.
Hussain, of Clifton Lane, Rotherham handed himself into police later that week. He pleaded guilty to the dangerous driving offence at an earlier hearing.
In mitigation, Mr Hughes said Hussain, who is now a Sheffield university student, was a 'young man who has made a positive contribution to the community for many years'.
He added: "He is an industrious young man and he appears to be doing well at university. Immediate custody would be devastating for him, not just academically but because of his family commitments."
Recorder Preston said that while he accepted Hussain had shown remorse for his actions and believed him to be the caring and community-minded young man described in a number of glowing references, the damage caused by his dangerous driving was so serious that he could not suspend his prison sentence.
He said: "Those two men did not choose to be hit by that car. The choice [to drive like that] was all yours."