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Belvedere worker Zahid Masood jailed for killing 19-year-old Charlotte Smoker on M25 near Orpington
A BELVEDERE worker who fled to Pakistan after killing a 19-year-old on the M25 near Orpington has finally been jailed today - nine years after the offence.
Zahid Masood, 47, only held a provisional driving licence and had no insurance when he drove a Ford Focus belonging to Belvedere-based Universal Workforce on the motorway on November 3, 2003.
A Fiat Cinquecento, belonging to 19-year-old Charlotte Smoker, had become stationary in the carriageway adjacent to the central reservation following an earlier incident.
Miss Smoker, an air hostess from Hertfordshire, had dialled 999 and activated her hazard warning lights when Masood’s car approached in the same lane – despite there being no traffic in either of the other two lanes.
Masood continued to drive directly towards the Fiat and did not slow or swerve until the final seconds before the impact and when he reacted, it was too late.
The Ford Focus collided with the rear of Miss Smoker’s vehicle, causing her fatal injuries and mobile phone data later showed Masood had made a phone call in the seconds leading up to the impact.
Detectives attended the scene of the crash and interviewed Masood, who gave his name as Mukhtar Ahmed from South Africa.
Shortly after Masood had been formally interviewed, he fled the country and because he had given officers false details, each time they drew a blank.
In August last year, enquiries in Romania revealed Masood had married his known partner at the time using his real name.
The police officer who attended the initial collision took over the investigation and identified Masood through documents received.
Using police information systems, an address in Rochester and a vehicle registered to Masood was identified and in November 2012, he was arrested.
He denied causing death by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice but was found guilty of both offences by jurors at Maidstone Crown Court today.
Judge Philip Statman jailed Masood, now of Heron Way in Rochester, for nine-years for the death by dangerous driving offence and nine months for perverting the course of justice.
Speaking after sentencing, Detective Constable Dave Holmes from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “Firstly, I would like to thank the witnesses in this case, for providing their evidence after all these years.
“Kent Police review all wanted person files and no case like this, is ever fully closed.
“I am satisfied that the Smoker family have finally been given some justice for their tragic loss, that was denied them for nine long years by Masood’s selfish and criminal actions.”
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