Denham 'crash for cash' men jailed for Baljinder Gill death

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Media captionCCTV footage shows passengers on a nearby bus who witnessed the crash

Three men who deliberately caused a car crash that led to another collision in which a woman died have been jailed.

Baljinder Gill died when her car was hit by a van "in an explosion of metal, glass and dust", on the A40 in Buckinghamshire. The initial crash was part of a £20,000 insurance scam.

Radoslaw Piotr Bielawski, 24, and Jacek Kowalczyk, 32, from Greenford, London, were jailed for 10 years three months.

Andrzej Boguslaw Skowron, 25, received 10 years, at Reading Crown Court.

As he passed sentence on the men, the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney said it was the first time someone had died as a result of an insurance scam of this nature.

Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor in the Thames and Chiltern area, said Miss Gill died because of the actions of a "ruthless gang intent on making money".

Died at scene

The court was told 34-year-old Ms Gill's Ford Fiesta was struck by one of the gang's vehicles moments before she was killed when another van, a Renault Trafic being driven by a man who was not involved in the scam, hit her car.

Ms Gill, from Stanwell, near Staines, in Surrey, was not the intended target, the court heard, but she was unable to avoid driving into the back of a Ford Transit van, which had been deliberately driven into a Volkswagen Passat and an Audi A3, in Denham on 11 June 2011.

Bielawski, Kowalczyk and Skowron had been planning to make a personal injury compensation claim in connection with the staged crash.

However the second crash involving the Renault Trafic van happened moments later, leaving Miss Gill fatally injured on the westbound carriageway.

She had been reaching back into her car to get some personal items when the van hit her vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Image caption Baljinder Gill's family are 'absolutely devastated by her death

Colin Lee, 32, the driver of the Renault Trafic, was sentenced to a year in prison for causing death by careless driving.

Crashes of the type caused by Bielawski, Kowalczyk and Skowron are part of a criminal industry which costs insurers £392m a year through false claims, the court heard.

'Calculated incident'

Mr Justice Sweeney said: "This is the first such enterprise to result in a death to come before the courts.

"It is clear that Miss Gill's death has had and continues to have an absolutely devastating effect on her family, especially her mother and brother, who close afterwards suffered the loss of her other brother to cancer."

In a statement released after the hearing, Miss Gill's family said she was "the innocent victim of a cold-blooded and calculated incident".

"Our family will never recover from this tragic event which took the life of our beautiful daughter, sister and truly loved member of our family from us," they said.

Skowron, from Shelley Gardens, Wembley, north London, was convicted for causing death by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Bielawski, was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and conspiracy to commit fraud. He had already pleaded guilty to do committing acts tending to pervert the course of justice.

Kowalczyk, was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, conspiracy to commit fraud and doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice.

Artur Okrutny, 23, from Briar Road, London, who was convicted of committing acts tending to pervert the course of justice, was sentenced to a year in prison.

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