LONDON – A limousine driver who crashed into a queue of traffic and killed a two-year-old boy was jailed for six years today.
John Woolston, 40, failed to slow down when all other traffic on the stretch of the M25 in Kent began to brake due to road work ahead.
Woolston maintained his speed and his Hummer stretch limousine ended up hitting seven vehicles, including a silver Renault Clio in which Danyal Razzaq was traveling with his family.
Sentencing him at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge James O'Mahoney said: "You crashed into the back of the cars concerned, skittling them, as someone described it, like nine pins, like scattered marbles.
"Danyal's life was lost, causing devastation to his parents and family forever."
Woolston, of East Ham, east London, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving after a trial at Maidstone Crown Court last month.
The court heard that on the morning of July 14 last year he had driven a party of people to Brighton in the five-ton vehicle, and was on the return journey when the accident happened.
One witness who passed the limousine on the M23 near Gatwick airport said she noticed Woolston "swerving" in the road.
Another witness who gave evidence during the trial told jurors he had been "annoyed" when Woolston had overtaken him on the inside lane, near where the accident happened on the M25.
The court heard that other vehicles on the motorway began to slow down as they neared junction three of the motorway, near Crockenhill, as a number of signs warned of roadworks ahead.
Addressing Woolston, Judge O'Mahoney said: "You had, if you had paid sufficient attention, a considerable line of vision of the road ahead.
"If you were driving safely at the time you would have had plenty of time to stop as everyone else did."
The court heard that Woolston, who had been fired from his main job as a bus driver for "moonlighting," was also employed by a limousine company.
He had not slept well the night before the crash.
Judge O'Mahoney continued: "In my judgment you were tired. You deliberately took that risk, a risk that didn't apply to you alone but to other members of the public."
He added: "I accept, mercifully, there were no serious injuries to other road users involved in the multi-vehicle collision."
The court heard that Danyal's uncle, Imraan MacGregor, suffered a fractured jaw, while seven other people including a pregnant woman escaped with minor injuries.
Danyal died at the scene, while other members of his family, who were on their way from their home in Hampton, Middlesex, to visit relatives in Gravesend, Kent, were taken to Darent Valley Hospital.
During mitigation Alex Balancy said Woolston had an "unblemished" driving record.
He added that Woolston, who had been driving for 20 years, was also "exemplary in terms of character."
Along with the jail sentence, Judge O'Mahoney ordered that Woolston be disqualified from driving for 10 years and that he must take an extended test before being allowed to drive again.
Source: Daily Mail – UK