Driver who killed pregnant mother on M66 after reaching speeds of 123mph has sentence increased

Adil Iqbal filmed himself weaving erratically between cars on a busy motorway just moments before he killed a pregnant woman, Anna Youssef reports

A dangerous driver who killed a pregnant mother of two after displaying "the worst case of bad driving" judges could recall has had his sentence increased.

Adil Iqbal killed Frankie Jules-Hough, 38, in a crash on the M66 in Bury, Greater Manchester, in May after filming himself weaving erratically between cars on a motorway moments before.

The 22-year-old had reached speeds of up to 123mph before losing control of his father's BMW, ploughing into Ms Jules-Hough’s Skoda Fabia, which had pulled over on the hard shoulder with a tyre puncture.

Ms Jules-Hough, who was 17 weeks pregnant with her first daughter, Neeve, suffered unsurvivable brain injuries.

Her daughter died with her when she passed away two days later in hospital surrounded by her family, having never regained consciousness.

Frankie Jules Hough's family say she had a "heart of gold". Credit: Family photo

Iqbal was sentenced to 12 years in prison in July after admitting to causing death by dangerous driving, and was banned from driving for 14 years.

But, following an appeal the decision was reviewed and three Court of Appeal judges increased it to 15 years after deciding the original punishment had been "unduly lenient".

“This is the worst case of bad driving any of us can recall,” Lord Justice Bean told the court.

“We find it hard to imagine a worst case of bad driving than this one.”

He said the case was exceptional.

Frankie had pulled over on the hard shoulder with a tyre puncture and was making a call to say she would be late when she was hit by Iqbal. Credit: Family picture

Lord Justice Bean said: "We have concluded that for the reasons given the total was note merely lenient but unduly lenient."

The judges said the original sentencing judge had not given sufficient weight to the aggravating features of Iqbal's driving.

These included the fact he had decided to ignore the rules of the road, had demonstrated a 'prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of driving', had carried out 'dangerous manoeuvres' including repeatedly undertaking cars at high speed, had used his phone at the wheel for a 'prolonged period; and had driven 'significantly' over the speed limit.

Iqbal, watching on a videolink HMP Featherstone in Staffordshire, was told his sentence had been increased from 12 to 15 years.

Frankie Jules-Hough’s former partner, Calvin Buckley, said Friday’s sentencing appeal hearing was held on the same day their daughter Neeve was due to be born.

Mr Buckley said: “I would like to start by thanking Hugh James law firm and Road Peace, the national charity for road crash victims, for supporting me throughout this process and their continued support.

“Today should have been the proudest and happiest day of my life.

“Today I should be celebrating becoming a father for the first time with my partner Frankie Julia Hough to our daughter Neeve. Today is the day Neeve was due to be born and make her making her entrance into the world.

“Instead I am in court fighting for their justice.”

  • Greater Manchester Police released footage of Adil Iqbal driving one handed, reaching a speed of 123mph

Ms Jules-Hough had pulled on to the hard shoulder of the motorway with a puncture, and had her two sons and a nephew in her car, judges heard.

She was making a call to say she would be late when she let out a “blood-curdling scream”, they were told.

Her son, Thomas Spencer, nine, and nephew Tobias Welby suffered serious brain injuries and their long-term outcomes remain uncertain, judges heard.

Both youngsters spent weeks in intensive care. Her other son was not badly hurt.

Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson had argued that the sentence was unduly lenient and asked for a review.

Following the Court of Appeal's judgment, he said: “Adil Iqbal’s driving that day ripped apart a young family that had so much to look forward to – not least welcoming a new baby. It is deplorable enough that he was travelling at such excessive speed but endangering lives further by filming himself was simply inexcusable.

“I am pleased the court has recognised the severity of his crimes and hope Iqbal’s increased sentence sends a stark warning to people who think it is acceptable to drive at high speeds and put the lives of others in jeopardy. You risk being punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Iqbal, from Accrington, Lancashire, who worked in a gym and coached boxing to “disadvantaged” children, had admitted causing death by dangerous driving and two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He had been sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester in July where Judge Maurice Greene jailed him for 12 years and described the “most indescribable reckless driving”.

The judge had banned Iqbal from driving for 13 years and the appeal judges increased this to 15 years.

He had previously been convicted of driving without insurance in 2019, and had been given a police warning for racing on public roads two months before the crash.