Couple who caused fatal Chorley hit and run accident avoid longer jail sentences

Hannah Jones, the driver of the car, was jailed for 18 months Credit: Lancs Live/MEN MEDIA

A couple from Lancashire who fled the scene of a fatal car accident and lied about who was responsible will not face longer in jail.

12-year-old Sana Patel died after the car driven by Hannah Jones collided with a Nissan Qashsqai on the M61 near Chorley.

Sana was thrown from the family car and suffered fatal injuries. As she lay dying, Jones and her boyfriend Safeer Iqbal ran from the vehicle and called a taxi to take them back to West Yorkshire.

A jury in their trial at Preston Crown Court heard that Jones and Iqbal had been at a party before the incident, and she offered to drive his Vauxhall Corsa home because he had been drinking - even though she was not insured.

Other motorists on the M61 described the Corsa being driven erratically at speeds of up to 90mph shortly before the collision.

Jones was convicted of causing Sana's death by careless driving, and both defendants were convicted of perverting the course of justice after it emerged they lied about who was responsible during the investigation into the collision.

Last month Jones, of Bankfield Court in Mirfield, Yorkshire, was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for two years. Iqbal, of Lees Holm in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, was jailed for eight months and banned from driving for 12 months.

The case was referred to the Attorney General to be considered under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

If the case had been accepted it would have been referred to the Court of Appeal to determine whether the sentence imposed should be increased.

However a spokesperson from the Attorney General’s Office said: “The Solicitor General was deeply saddened by this case and wishes to express his sympathies to the family of Sana Patel.

“After careful consideration the Solicitor General has concluded that this case cannot properly be referred to the Court of Appeal.

"A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence. The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case.”