London

Bus driver accused over death 'thought he hit fox'

A bus driver accused of killing a student thought he had run over a bottle and later a fox, Blackfriars Crown Court has heard.

Mingwei Tan, 20, from Singapore, was allegedly dragged for half a mile under a vehicle that hit her in Hampstead, north-west London, in September 2010.

Driver Shahriar Firouzian, of Harrow Way, Watford, Hertfordshire, allegedly hit her as she crossed Pond Street.

The 52-year-old denies causing death by careless driving.

The Cambridge University medical student, who was returning from a holiday in Cyprus, was caught underneath the vehicle and found lying with fatal injuries 825 metres along the road, the court heard.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died of multiple injuries.

Photographs shown

Jurors heard the Iranian-born bus driver had stopped to collect an elderly woman outside the Royal Free Hospital shortly after the collision, at about 01:45 BST.

Mr Firouzian only discovered Miss Tan had been killed the next day when he was suspended by his employers Metroline, he claimed.

He told police after the incident that he believed he had initially run over a bottle and then a fox when Miss Tan's body eventually came loose.

"I think it was a bottle left behind the hospital when I picked up an old black lady," he said in his statement.

"I think it was a fox just after Belsize Park rail station," he added.

Jurors were shown photographs of the scene, including the positions of a shoe, sock, mobile phone and purse which were found along the road.

Hamish Reid, prosecuting, said: "It is not part of the prosecution case that when Mr Firouzian started his shift that night he intended to kill Miss Tan.

"He will have to live with what happened for the rest of his life."

The trial continues.

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