A man who tried to evade prosecution for nine years, has been found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to four years and nine months in jail. Zahid Masood fled to Pakistan shortly after the collision in 2003 which killed 19-year-old Charlotte Smoker.
Masood, from Heron Way, Rochester had been driving a Ford Focus along the M25 on November 3rd 2003 which belonged to the company he worked for. He only held a provisional driving licence and was not insured to drive the car.
Charlotte’s car, a Fiat Cinquecento, became stationary in the main carriageway by the central reservation, just by junction 4 at Shoreham, as the result of an earlier incident.
Charlotte, an air hostess from Hertfordshire, had called the emergency services and activated her hazard warning lights.
A Ford Focus, driven by Masood was travelling in the outside lane approaching, this despite there being no traffic in the two lanes on his inside.
He was then seen to continue driving directly towards the Fiat, not slowing or swerving until the last seconds prior to the impact, only then did he react but by then it was too late. The Ford Focus collided with the rear of Charlotte’s vehicle causing her fatal injuries.
Officers attended the scene and spoke with Masood who gave his identity as Mukhtar Ahmed from South Africa. Subsequently, mobile phone data showed he had made a telephone call in the moments leading up to the collision.
A short time later, before Masood could be formally interviewed, he fled the country. Officers actively tried to locate Masood, but because he had given false details, each time they drew a blank.
Then, in August 2012, further enquiries in Romania revealed Masood had married his known partner at the time of the collision under his real name.
The police officer who attended the scene of the collision, PC Terry Collins, and who now works in the Serious Collision Investigation Unit and who took over the investigation, positively identified Masood from documents received.
A jury at Maidstone Crown Court found him guilty on Friday, May 3 and sentenced him to four years for causing death by dangerous driving. He was also sentenced to nine months for perverting the course of justice and banned from driving for seven years.