Lancashire

Jurors fail to reach verdicts in Preston death crash case

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

A driver accused of being distracted by his phone when he killed two young women will face a retrial after a jury failed to reach verdicts.

Mohmed Salman Patel, 26, crashed into Shelby Maher, 17, and Rachel Murphy, 23, as they crossed a road in Preston, his trial heard.

The prosecution said he was "more interested" in his mobile phone and failed to see them.

Mr Patel, of Carham Road, Blackburn, denied he was distracted by anything.

Preston Crown Court heard Miss Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision on the A59 Brockholes Brow in the early evening of 20 April, 2016, while Miss Maher died in hospital.

Jurors were told Mr Patel had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving but denied two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard that 42 seconds after Mr Patel texted his girlfriend, he was calling 999 from the scene of the collision.

The defendant told the court he sent the message while stationary at a set of traffic lights and then put his phone back in the driver's side pocket.

The retrial will take place in July.

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