THE FAMILY of an eight-year-old Ashton boy killed by drivers treating a road like a ‘racetrack’ has thanked the community after two men were jailed for a total of more than nine years.
Kevin Jones and Thomas McGrath were each handed sentences of four years and eight months for causing the death by dangerous driving of Safiullah Latif Asif.
The boy was struck by Jones’ BMW as he crossed the road while playing with his brother and cousin on Thursday, July 20, 2020 as their cars careered down Ryecroft street at speed.
A Forensic Collision Reconstruction Report showed Jones was travelling at approximately 50 mph in a 20 mph zone and McGrath at an average speed of between 42 and 48 mph.
Initially in hospital with life-threatening injuries, the youngster sadly died. He had been playing at the time.
Witnesses described seeing two cars travelling very fast down Ryecroft Street just before the collision, with one thinking they were treating the road as a ‘racetrack.’
Another had shouted for the vehicles to ‘slow down’ as they flew around the bend, after he felt they were travelling too fast – and too close to each other.
The same witness reported a load bang before he saw a small child lying “motionless in the road.”
Jones was stopped after the accident, but McGrath failed to stop.
And after sentencing, Safiullah’s father said: “Myself, my wife and our whole family are very grateful to the police and the Prosecution Service, who have worked hard to get this case to court, and for all the support we have received from our Family Liaison Officer.
“I want to thank the witnesses who came forward and the community for being a great support. I am content with the sentencing today.
“We have lost Safiullah and he will never come back but I am pleased that we have finally got some justice.
“Please can we ask that our privacy is respected so we can grieve for the loss of our son.”
Officers on the scene discovered that Jones – of Gorseyville Crescent in Bebington on the Wirral – was driving without insurance, on an expired provisional driving licence. He admitted to the offences at the scene and later pleaded guilty on May 27, 2021.
McGrath – of Gorton Road, Stockport – was traced but denied the offence. He pleaded not guilty on December 13, 2021 but was later found guilty at the end of a trial on January 19.
As well as their prison terms when they appeared at Bolton Crown Court for sentencing, they were both told they will also be disqualified from driving for five years upon their release from prison.
PC Adam Scott, of Greater Manchester Police’s serious collision investigation unit, said: “First of all, our thoughts remain with the family of Safiullah Latif Asif, who grieve and miss their son every single day.
“We hope that this goes some way to help Safiullah’s family, knowing that both Jones and McGrath are off the streets and cannot hurt anyone else.
“This was an extremely serious road traffic collision, and we would urge everyone to adhere to speed limits and behave in a responsible way on the roads. As this case has shown, standards of driving like this result in the loss of lives and in this case, a young boy’s life.
“These standards will not be tolerated by Greater Manchester Police and we will vigorously target these offenders.”