Killer driver avoids jail sentence
THE FATHER of a trainee barrister from Suffolk who was knocked down and killed as she crossed the road last night spoke of the “disaster’’ which had caused his daughter’s death.
Former Framlingham College pupil Vicky Johnson, a 23-year-old with a promising law career ahead of her, was killed on a pelican crossing outside Mile End tube station in the East End of London.
Driver Foysal Ali, 25, was yesterday sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years.
Ali drove through flashing amber traffic lights, but the judge took into account witness statements that Miss Johnson was talking on her mobile phone when she was struck on January 5, 2009.
Police calculated Ali’s Ford Ka was travelling at 37mph in a 30mph zone, and said he should have “proceeded with caution” until the signal turned green.
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The hatchback was roadworthy but inspectors found the horn did not work, which prevented Ali from warning Miss Johnson of his approach.
Ali, of Forest Gate, east London, was convicted in June of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving. He was cleared of a charge of causing death by dangerous driving on the direction of the judge.
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During the sentencing at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Judge Alan Pardoe QC said: “Victoria Johnson stepped into the carriageway without looking to her left. If she had looked to her left, the evidence was that she would have seen you very clearly.
“There is evidence from a bystander that at the time of entering the carriageway, she was speaking on her mobile phone.”
He added: “By your careless driving, you caused the death of Victoria Johnson, a young trainee barrister about to start her career. No regret on your part, or indeed no sentence of the court can bring her back to life. You caused Victoria Johnson’s death by driving too fast up to a pelican pedestrian crossing on the Mile End Road, at a time when the lights against you at the crossing were flashing amber.”
Judge Pardoe ordered Ali, studying a social work MA at the University of Nottingham, to carry out 250 hours’ unpaid work and banned him from driving for a year.
Following the sentencing, Vicky’s father, David, 55, who runs the village post office and shop in Stradbroke, said: “The court did its job and did it very well.
“The trial heard the evidence and it’s the judge’s job to decide upon what tariff is appropriate.
“What happened was a disaster not just for us and Vicky, but also for Mr Ali and his family and it is something he is going to have to live with and get over.
“One just hopes that he is able to pick his life up and proceed in the way he was planning it before.
“The tragedy has happened but in the darkness of it all, there is light in that people have been helped by Vicky being an organ donor.
“It doesn’t take away the loss or explain it, but at least you can see other people are lifted out of despair by it.”
Jonathan Mann, representing Ali, said his client faced being “permanently excluded” from his course after becoming an outcast at the same university where Vicky graduated.
Mr Mann pleaded for a community supervision order after claiming university officials indicated Ali would be expelled, even if his jail term was suspended.
But prosecutor Paul Raudnitz revealed aspiring social worker Ali had a “history of dishonesty” with previous convictions including shoplifting, deception and theft.