Death-crash driver found guilty of dangerous drivingBy David Millward
March 13, 2013
A string of last-minute decisions led to the driver of a car which fatally struck a 12-year-old boy to be travelling in the bus lane.
Aadil Asghar, of Rosedale Crescent, Earley denied he was swapping lanes to avoid traffic, but because he changed his mind about his route along the way.
But a jury yesterday did not believe his version of events and convicted him of causing death by dangerous driving.
He was released on conditional bail and will be sentenced on April 11.
The 25-year-old admitted he “could have done much better” with his driving, but denied causing the death of Harsh Dharmendra by dangerous driving.
Asghar told Reading Crown Court on Monday that he had been to pick up his 17-year-old brother from football training on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 21, last year and had then taken his mother to Royal Berkshire Hospital for an appointment.
Asghar then drove into the town centre, where his brother collected his mobile phone which was being repaired.
The jury watched video footage from several CCTV cameras which showed Asghar’s cream Audi A1 travelling from St Mary’s Butts, under The Oracle, along Queen’s Road, on to Watlington Street and King’s Road,
Under cross examination, Alan Blake, prosecuting, asked Asghar why he entered the left-hand lane at the Queen’s Road junction with Watlington Street, when he should be in a right hand lane to go on to King’s Road.
He said: “I would suggest the reason you have pulled into the left lane is it was empty and you thought you would under-take on the left-hand side.”
Asghar said he would not under-take, but admitted there was “no apparent reason” for him being in the left lane.
He said he went to the right-hand lane on King’s Road to turn into Eldon Road, to pick up his mother from the hospital, but changed his mind and continued straight on.
Asghar said his brother asked to be dropped off along King’s Road and he entered the bus lane with the intention of stopping at the bus stop at Reading College.
However, he then decided he wanted to pull in at Arthur Hill Pool to enquire about taking his 20-month-old son swimming.
It was during this last stretch that Asghar’s car hit Harsh at about 45mph as he ran through otherwise stationary traffic at a pedestrian crossing which was out of order near the Abbot Cook pub.
Mr Blake said: “The reality is that Arthur Hill swimming pool was just your attempt to justify why you were driving in the bus lane, isn’t it Mr Asghar?
“The truth is, you were using that bus lane simply to under-take queuing traffic.”
Asghar replied: “No, it wasn’t.”
Asghar said he was convinced the traffic lights where the collision happened were green, although they were in fact out of order.
He also said he had been certain he was travelling within the 30mph speed limit at the time and could not understand how he could have been doing between 42 and 48mph as calculated by accident investigators.
Talking about his driving on that day, Oscar Del Fabbro, defending, asked his client: “On reflection you could have done much better?”
Asghar replied simply: “Yes.”