A Leeds motorist pretended to be mentally incapacitated in a bid to avoid a jail sentence for causing the death of a cyclist by dangerous driving. Mohammed Munir had hit John Harkins head-on while driving at double the speed limit on the wrong side of the road while overtaking his cousin’s car in Leeds.
The Yorkshire Evening Post (link is external) reports that Harkins was riding home from training a university cheerleading squad on November 14 at around 11pm when Munir went round keep-left bollards on Kirkstall Road into the opposite carriageway and hit him.
Munir’s car overturned, crushing Harkins, and demolishing the front of two businesses.
A founder and coach of the Aviators Cheer cheerleading programme, Harkins was a popular man. The bike he was riding had been crowdfunded for him after he suffered two bike thefts in 2015. Hundreds paid tribute to him at a candle-lit vigil following his death.
The man who hit him bought a new Audi three months after the fatal crash and continued driving, while pretending to police and doctors that he was mentally incapacitated in a bid to escape justice.
To prove he was lying, police obtained CCTV footage of Munir using a scanner and checking his bill in Ikea.
He was jailed for six years and nine months after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice.
Judge Rodney Jameson QC told him: “You simply decided to lie repeatedly to frustrate the investigation into your criminality.
“I am entirely satisfied that you knew you were guilty of causing the death of John Harkins by dangerous driving.
“Your behaviour throughout the investigation has been selfish, cowardly and dishonest. You could not have cared less. Your actions were motivated by pure selfishness.”
Jameson added that Munir had at one point said to a custody officer, “why can’t they just get over it?” in reference to Harkins’ relatives.
Ann Drury, Senior Investigating Officer in the case, said: “Munir undertook a lengthy charade to frustrate the investigation to try and avoid facing the consequences of his actions. I hope that today’s guilty verdict and sentence brings some sort of closure to Mr Harkins family, who have shown great dignity throughout the investigation and court proceedings.”