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Jail for hit-and-run driver who killed cyclist while racing another car

Fatal crash was captured on victim Stewart Grainger’s helmet camera, with judge telling driver Muniir Ali that “his last moments would have been those of sheer terror.”

A hit-and-run driver who was racing another car when he crashed into and killed a cyclist has been sent to prison for 12 years and six months after being convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey of causing death by dangerous driving.

Cyclist Stewart Grainger was killed when Muniir Ali hit him head-on as he overtook the car he had been racing on Mitcham Road, Croydon, at around 3am on 30 May 2022, reports the London Evening Standard.

Ali, aged 31 and from Thornton Heath, who handed himself into police later on that day, claimed at his trial that a friend had been driving his BMW 118 Sport at the time.

The court was told that Ali was travelling at 40mph, in excess of the 30mph speed limit on the road where the fatal crash, which was recorded by CCTV cameras as well as Mr Grainger’s helmet camera, happened.

According to Sarah Morris, prosecuting, the footage showed that Ali’s driving was “racing or competitive.”

However, he continued to insist that a friend had been driving the car, claiming that he had consumed alcohol at an event to celebrate passing exams as part of his training to be a train driver.

Defending Ali, who pleaded guilty to failure to stop at the scene and failure to report the incident, Roy Headlam insisted that his client was “sorry and remorseful” and that he was aware that “nothing I say on his behalf will make up for the loss the family of Mr Grainger has faced.”

But sentencing him to prison and banning him from driving for seven years following his eventual release, Judge Alexia Durran said: “It was not a pure accident, it was a deliberate and flagrant piece of dangerous driving in which you killed a entirely innocent man.”

She said that Mr Grainger’s helmet camera “clearly showed you driving straight at him,” adding, “his last moments would have been those of sheer terror.”

In a victim impact statement, Mr Grainger’s wife, Tracey, said: “You chose to get into your car, you chose to drive over the speed limit, you chose to overtake and drive on the wrong side of the road and you chose not to stop.

“Your choices led to you killing my partner, my soulmate, my best friend, my future.

“Your choices led to you killing a dad, grandad, uncle, work colleague and friend.

“From that moment on you made the choice that changed my life in so many ways,” she added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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22 comments

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Rome73 | 4 months ago
3 likes

12 years is good. Hopefully they will be an unpleasant 12 years for the driver. If only sentences like this were more prevalent - it would surely help to reduce road deaths. 

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bikes | 5 months ago
0 likes

Does the law allow for a permanent driving ban? If not, what is the maximum length of time a ban can be?

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Hirsute replied to bikes | 4 months ago
2 likes

You can be banned permanently but normally it's half the sentence to be started when the sentence ends.

You can also be banned for a non motoring offence if the use of a vehicle is deemed relevant to the actual offence commited (and also if it wasn't)

https://www.mortons-solicitors.co.uk/can-you-be-banned-from-driving-for-...

see also https://www.jmw.co.uk/articles/motoring-law/how-to-avoid-driving-ban-exc...

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 4 months ago
1 like

Hirsute wrote:

You can be banned permanently ...

Wait - what?

Has that ever happened?

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Hirsute replied to chrisonabike | 4 months ago
1 like
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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 4 months ago
0 likes

Thanks - I should have looked there first!  They've got a big campaign document from 2016 looking at this - with graphs!

Here's one that didn't make the grade - lifetime ban given to someone who was disqualified on at least 24 occasions but overturned by the court of appeal - ban of 10 years imposed because he was only 30 and might turn his life around.

Two noted here in 2023 - one for booze (sounds like an alcoholic with a long record) the other for drugs (also with previous).  Presumably the records were dire as they didn't manage to kill anyone this time.

You're not safe (in Scotland) from getting a ban even if you're rich!  Given the lighter punishments others have been given for far worse this even sounds unduly harsh...

The Courier wrote:

A millionaire businessman has been handed a lifetime driving ban after he was spotted motoring down the A9 while slumped at the wheel with his eyes closed.

Colin Peat, the co-owner of one of the country's biggest demolition firms, narrowly avoided prison after his erratic driving on the busy road near Auchterarder prompted multiple calls to police.

The 55-year-old, who has a previous conviction for drink driving in a golf buggy, admitted driving his Land Rover dangerously on the A9, south of Perth and at the city’s Triangle, while impaired through alcohol or drugs on January 28.

OTOH here's one man who's clocked up multiple lifetime bans!  (Shows how effective enforcement isn't).

The Courier wrote:

John Phillips was already disqualified for more than a century when he took the silver Ford vehicle for a spin around Alyth.

Perth Sheriff Court heard how he "goaded" a member of the public, before reversing the van towards him.

Phillips appeared via video link from prison and admitted stealing the van and driving it dangerously while intoxicated and disqualified on April 8 this year.

The 33-year-old already has seven previous convictions for dangerous driving and 12 for getting behind the wheel while banned.

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 4 months ago
1 like
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OldRidgeback | 5 months ago
8 likes

The driver had been drinking in celebration of having passed his exams to become a train driver. He already had committed driving offences. I hope he never gets behind the wheel of a car, or behind the controls of a locomotive, ever gain. RIP to his victim and my condolences to the family.

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mattw | 5 months ago
6 likes

How does "Guilty to Failing to Stop" square with "My Mate was Driving"?

So we are seeing more approrpiate sentences for 'deliberate dangerous drivers".

How do we extend that to dozy drivers who cripple or kill people?

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chrisonabike replied to mattw | 5 months ago
2 likes

Well that's not a crime as they didn't set out to injure, or get drunk and drive or have a race. So not "wrong'uns" and their peers think "it's tragic but could have been anyone". Or if they think a bit further " inevitable consequence of mass motoring".

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mctrials23 replied to mattw | 5 months ago
6 likes

We're only slowly approaching the point where intentionally nasty and dangerous driving is being remotely punished reasonably. We are a long long way off punishing dozy driving. 

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bikes replied to mattw | 5 months ago
2 likes

Does attempting to frame someone make him guilty of an additional crime as well?

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HLaB replied to bikes | 4 months ago
0 likes

If its not framing, its colluding  7

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Hirsute | 5 months ago
12 likes

"Ali, who has a previous conviction for careless driving from 2017"

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perce | 5 months ago
25 likes

So, he's sorry and remorseful even though at his trial he was trying to blame his friend. The only thing he's sorry about is getting caught. RIP and condolences to Mr Grainger's family and friends.

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IanMK replied to perce | 5 months ago
11 likes

Nothing says I'm sorry like getting your solicitor to read a statement that they wrote for you.

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NOtotheEU | 5 months ago
4 likes

As far as I can tell the only difference between this case and so many others where the judge accepts the accused is genuinely remorseful and made a 'one off' driving mistake is the not guilty plea. Or maybe this judge actually takes the death of a cyclist seriously unlike most of them?

I hope it is the latter but I suspect it is just because the accused thumbed his nose at the law and paid the price.

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Bungle_52 replied to NOtotheEU | 5 months ago
8 likes

One other important difference is the availablity of footage from the cyclist's point of view. Perhaps this aided the judge in empathising with the cyclist and realising how vulnerable we are. One of the reasons I always ride with a camera. It won't help me but it may help my loved ones as they will know the killer will have been punished as well as them, and hopefully the deterrence effect of a suitable sentence will help other cyclists.

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NOtotheEU replied to Bungle_52 | 5 months ago
3 likes

Bungle_52 wrote:

One of the reasons I always ride with a camera. It won't help me but it may help my loved ones as they will know the killer will have been punished as well as them, and hopefully the deterrence effect of a suitable sentence will help other cyclists.

Agreed, probably the best of the reasons for running cameras I can think of.

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andystow replied to NOtotheEU | 4 months ago
0 likes

NOtotheEU wrote:

Bungle_52 wrote:

One of the reasons I always ride with a camera. It won't help me but it may help my loved ones as they will know the killer will have been punished as well as them, and hopefully the deterrence effect of a suitable sentence will help other cyclists.

Agreed, probably the best of the reasons for running cameras I can think of.

Make sure your friends and family know you use a camera, and what it looks like. If the police just think it's a light, or it flies off at the scene of the crash, nobody might know to look for the footage.

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ktache | 5 months ago
11 likes

My deepest sympathies and thoughts go out to the family and friends of Stewart.

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Grumpy17 | 5 months ago
13 likes

Worthless specimen of humanity.

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