Wigan social worker was driving dangerously but did not cause man's death, jury decides

A father of five has been acquitted of causing the death of a man on a mobility scooter by driving dangerously on a Wigan road.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:52 pm

However, a jury at Manchester Crown Court today found Noormohammed Yusuf, 31, guilty of dangerous driving, by a majority verdict of 11-1.

They had been deliberating for four hours and 38 minutes after a trial looking at what happened on Poolstock Lane, Wigan, shortly after 8.50pm on February 28, 2019.

Michael Smith, 53, was riding his mobility scooter when he was hit by a Vauxhall Zafira, causing fatal injuries.

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Michael Smith

The vehicle then ploughed through a fence and crashed into the side of a van parked outside a house.

The driver of that car - Noormohammed's brother Hanzah Yusuf, 21, of Park Lane, Abram - has already pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Noormohammed, who was employed as a social worker at Wigan Council, and his brother were driving in separate cars along Poolstock Lane after leaving a mosque on Clifford Street, Worsley Mesnes.

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Calculations using CCTV footage showed they were both doing around 53mph on the 30mph road, with Hanzah’s car 2.75 seconds behind his brother’s Volvo S40.

Robert Hall, prosecuting, argued the pair were racing and highlighted that they were in a built-up area, it was dark and it had been raining.

But Noormohammed, also of Park Lane, denied he had been racing his brother and said he did not realise he was speeding, as he felt in control of the vehicle.

He said he saw Hanzah’s car leave the mosque behind him, but did not see it again until after the collision.

He claimed he saw a queue of cars with red brake lights on the opposite side of the road and thought there had been an accident, so he decided to pull over and discovered his brother had been in a crash.

Mr Smith suffered multiple injuries in the collision and was taken to Wigan Infirmary by ambulance, but he died less than an hour later.

After the collision, the Vauxhall Zafira was examined to see if there was anything significantly wrong that could have caused the crash, the court heard.

The only finding was the tread depth on the front driver’s side tyre was below the legal limit of 1.6mm in the centre section, measuring 0.6mm to 1.5mm. It was above the limit on the outer section of the tyre.

The court heard it was not possible to rule out the low tread depth as contributing to the driver losing control of the car.

Before the jury retired to consider its verdict, Miss Recorder Mary Loram QC said whether the brothers were racing would be “key” to deciding if Noormohammed caused Mr Smith’s death by dangerous driving.

The case was adjourned so a pre-sentence report could be prepared, which will outline all sentencing options available for Noormohammed.

Both brothers were remanded on bail and will return to the court for sentencing on Thursday, November 11.

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