Couple leave Blackburn schoolgirl to die in road after horror crash on M61

Hannah Jones and Safeer Iqbal fled the scene immediately after the crash. Credit: MEN Media

A couple have been jailed after leaving a twelve year old girl to die in the road on the M61 motorway in Lancashire.

Sana Patel, from Blackburn, died after speeding driver Hannah Jones, 26, crashed into her family's vehicle near Chorley at around 10.45pm on 6 July 2019.

The schoolgirl was thrown from the car, which was carrying several members of her family, after it overturned.

Jones and her passenger Safeer Iqbal, 32, quickly fled the scene up the motorway embankment and checked into a nearby hotel.

Members of the public administered CPR to Sana, but despite their best efforts, she died at the scene.

Hannah Jones had reached speeds of around 90mph when she crashed into the back of the Nissan Qashqai. Credit: MEN Media

In a victim impact statement, Sana’s mother said: “We have still not recovered from the loss of our daughter.

"She was taken from us in an unimaginably violent and sudden way. Our hearts are left with this giant hole and a light has been extinguished in our life.”

One police officer, who attended the scene described it as one of the "most awful" things they have ever seen.Sana's mum added: “We as a family will be suffering from this tragic event for the rest of our lives and we miss Sana every day.”Sgt Marc Glass, from Lancashire’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This was one of the most awful scenes I have ever had to attend, and I can only imagine what Sana’s family have gone through since that night.

"I thank them for their patience and understanding through the necessary stages of this investigation and the court proceedings.“Rather than checking on the other people involved, Jones and Iqbal fled the scene then lied about which one of them was driving, thereby frustrating the police investigation, and prolonging the family’s suffering.Lancashire Police have thanked members of the public who administered first aid to Sana and helped her family to safety following the crash.A few days after the incident, Jones was arrested at an address in Mirfield in West Yorkshire while Iqbal handed himself in to police in Preston.

Safeer Iqbal handed himself in to police in Preston. Credit: MEN Media

Both initially claimed Iqbal had been driving the vehicle and Jones had been the passenger, however Iqbal admitted in January 2020 that he had agreed to “take the blame” for Jones.Despite this, she denied driving the car but officers found deleted text messages on her phone which disproved her story.

An expert witness also attributed Jones’ injuries to the driver’s side seatbelt and the explosive release of the steering wheel airbag.Hannah Jones, 26, of Bankfield Court, Mirfield, appeared at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday 15 March where she was sentenced to 18 months in prison, after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving and perverting the course of justice on the first day of a trial in December.Safeer Iqbal, 32, of Lees Holm, Dewsbury was sentenced on Friday 17 March to eight months imprisonment after admitting perverting the course of justice at an earlier plea hearing.