Lancashire

Preston death crash driver 'texted' as he hit two women

Shelby Maher and Rachel Murphy Image copyright Police Handout
Image caption The prosecution allege Mohmed Salman Patel was too busy texting to notice Shelby Maher and Rachel Murphy

A driver was texting his girlfriend when he hit two young women head-on and killed them, a jury has heard.

Shelby Maher, 17, and Rachel Murphy, 23, were said to be "clearly visible" as they crossed the road in Preston.

But Mohmed Salman Patel, 26, was allegedly "more interested" in his mobile phone and failed to see them, Preston Crown Court was told.

Patel, of Carham Road, Blackburn, denies two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Miss Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene after being knocked down by the defendant's BMW 3 Series, on the A59 Brockholes Brow in the early evening of 20 April 2016, while Miss Maher died in hospital.

Another teenage girl in the group of five friends crossing the road was seriously injured and was in hospital for a week.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said Mr Patel's phone revealed he sent two text messages to his girlfriend at 18:12 on 20 April 2016 asking her whereabouts.

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

Within 42 seconds of sending that message he had killed the pair, and next used his mobile to ring the emergency services, the court heard.

Mr McEntee said: "The defendant did not brake or swerve as he drove his car. We say the pedestrians were clearly visible in the middle of the road.

"We will invite you to conclude that the only sensible answer as to why the defendant did not see anyone in the road when they were clearly visible was he was more interested in finding out what was the answer to his question."

Mr Patel has entered pleas to causing death by careless driving but the Crown said his driving was dangerous and fell far below the standard of a careful and competent driver.

The trial, expected to last up to seven days, continues.

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