A driver who hit speeds of 101mph on the A34 in Staffordshire before a double fatal crash has been jailed for more than eight years.

Zia Akbar, 31, was behind the wheel of his Mercedes AMG on the A34 Fillybrooks when he smashed into the side of a Ford C-Max which was spun into the opposing carriageway. The driver, Barry Salt, aged 73, and his wife, Megan Salt, aged 74, were rushed to hospital but they both died as a result of their injuries.

Stafford Crown Court heard the Ford had emerged from the junction of Yarnfield Lane, Stone, by the Wayfarer pub, when the collision happened on January 16, 2022. Analysis of the Mercedes showed that in the five seconds prior to the impact, Akbar was coasting at 101mph, braking to 75mph at the point of impact with the Ford – despite a 50mph speed limit on the road.

A 19-year-old woman in the front passenger seat of the Ford suffered minor injuries in the incident. A 26-year-old woman, who was a front seat passenger of the Mercedes, suffered serious injuries from which she continues to recover. Akbar, from Plaistow, London, initially pleaded not guilty in January 2023 to the charge of causing death by dangerous driving, arguing his driving was careless but not dangerous.

A trial was set for October 2023 but in June that year Akbar changed his plea to guilty for the more serious offences. He later asked for his guilty plea to be accepted on the basis that the Ford car had pulled out in front of him and stopped in the carriageway leaving him insufficient time to react. A Newton hearing was held on June 13 in order to hear evidence of the disputed facts.

Following witness accounts and evidence provided by the forensic collision investigator, PC Mulvey, it was determined that, had Akbar been travelling at the speed limit, he would have stopped short of the collision. Akbar was remanded into custody and was sentenced today to eight-years-and-six-months behind bars. He was also disqualified from driving for nine-years-and-eight-months with a requirement to take an extended re-test, reported StokeonTrentLive.

PC Gavin Knott, from the Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation unit, said: “Akbar drove at a speed that was wholly dangerous. It was a cold night, with temperatures not much above freezing but regardless Akbar drove at over twice the speed limit into a sweeping bend approaching a busy junction that he was fully aware was there. The collision was avoidable if Akbar had driven to the conditions that night. His actions have devastated the family of Barry and Megan.”

2024-07-10T07:28:43Z dg43tfdfdgfd