Preston death crash driver Mohmed Patel jailed

Image source, Police Handout
Image caption,
Shelby Maher and Rachel Murphy were killed after they were hit by Patel's BMW

A driver who killed two women in a crash while checking his mobile phone has been jailed for six years.

Mohmed Patel, 26, did not see Shelby Maher, 17, and Rachel Murphy, 23, as they crossed the road in Preston.

Patel, from Blackburn, was convicted on Monday of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Sentencing at Preston Crown Court earlier, Judge Robert Altham said: "No text message was so urgent it was worth the lives of these two young women."

Accountant Patel had been checking his phone for a reply to a text message he had sent to his girlfriend moments before.

Miss Murphy was pronounced dead at the crash scene after being hit by the defendant's BMW 3 Series on 20 April 2016, while Miss Maher died in hospital.

Another teenage girl in a group of five friends crossing the A59 Brockholes Brow off the M6 motorway was seriously injured and in hospital for a week.

Image source, Thomas Temple /
Image caption,
A judge said Mohmed Patel had shown "no significant remorse"

Patel, of Carham Road, had admitted his driving - while taking his mother and sister on a shopping trip - was careless, but denied it was dangerous.

His iPhone revealed he sent two text messages to his girlfriend at 18:12 BST asking her whereabouts.

She replied at 18:37: "Yeah at mate's" to which he swiftly responded: "Her house?".

His trial heard 42 seconds after that text he was calling 999 from the crash scene.

Patel claimed he had texted his partner while stopped at a nearby set of traffic lights and then replaced the phone in the driver's side pocket.

But another motorist said Patel had overtaken him shortly before the crash and he had seen Patel holding a mobile phone in his hand as he rested it on the steering wheel.

'Ruined lives'

Judge Altham said: "This was plainly an avoidable distraction. So distracted was he that at the point of collision he may as well have been driving with his eyes closed."

He said Patel had shown "no significant remorse" but rather "sadness for the predicament he now finds himself in".

The women's families said they were disappointed with the length of sentence.

Melanie Maher, Shelby's mother, said: "He's ruined all our lives, my child's life, I'm never going to see my daughter again because of him and I hate him."

Patel was also banned from driving for nine years.

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