Leeds & West Yorkshire

Shamirah Grant death: Learner driver jailed for two years

A learner driver on her first lesson has been jailed for two years for crashing and killing a nine-year-old girl.

Beatrice Mawamba, 34, crushed Shamirah Grant after she drove a car down an alleyway and into a communal courtyard.

Two other girls, aged 11 and 13, were injured in the incident in Leopold Grove, Chapeltown, Leeds, on 31 May.

At Leeds Crown Court Mawamba, of Leopold Street, Chapeltown, admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

Mawamba's husband Brice Nguetcuessi, who was giving her the driving lesson, was originally charged in connection with Shamirah's death but the case against him was later dropped.

The court was told Mawamba had a provisional licence but had only done online theory lessons and had not driven a car before.

The vehicle was described in court as "bunny hopping" before Mawamba lost control and veered down the steps of the narrow alleyway and on to the grassed children's play area.

'Profoundly ignorant'

Michael Smith, prosecuting, said: "The defendant described the car going very fast and her husband telling her to brake but she did not know how to. Her husband also tried to stop the car but couldn't.

"When challenged by the police she was unable to say which pedal was the brake."

Image caption Beatrice Mawamba's barrister said she remained "extremely distressed" by the tragedy

Sentencing, Mr Justice Openshaw said Mawamba was "profoundly ignorant" of the most basic driving skills.

He added: "It seems to me she was unaware of putting the car in gear. Having done so she was unable to disengage first gear.

"She did not know how to apply the brake pedal; she could not find the brake pedal; she did not know where it was or what purpose it served."

Mawamba, a mother of three, was banned from driving for five years and must take an extended test when her ban ends.

Graham Parkin, for Mawamba, said his client was remorseful and remained "extremely distressed" by the tragedy.

"She wishes, of course, she could turn back the clock and that it never happened."

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