MMU student jailed over Manchester taxi crash that left pregnant woman fighting for life – and her baby’s

A Manchester Metropolitan University student who left a heavily pregnant woman fighting for her life in a Manchester horror crash after trying to undertake at speed has been jailed.

Victim Wei Liu, 30, gave birth while in a coma in hospital after the smash and only knew she had a healthy baby son when she woke up THREE days after the accident.

Driver Zain Iqbal, 21, has been jailed for 28 months after he crashed into the taxi that Wei was travelling in – leaving the mum-to-be fighting for her life.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Iqbal had been driving a Vokswagen Golf at speed on busy Great Ancoats Street  at 10.45pm when he attempted to undertake a car that had slowed down to allow a taxi to pull out, only to plough into the cab.

The court heard he had been travelling at an average of 47mph in the 30mph zone.

Wei was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary in a critical condition and her son Lucas was delivered after an emergency caesarean in A&E a month early.

Her partner Geng Yu, 24, was told after the smash, in which he also suffered injuries, that he may have to choose whose life to save.

She was left with a catalogue of devastating injuries, including a severed artery above her heart, fractured ribs which had pierced her liver and a shattered pelvis along with a fractured cheekbone, broken foot and a gash on her head which needed 48 stitches.

And Wei, a shop assistant for Hermes in Selfridges in Manchester city centre, had to spend a total of 40 days in hospital before finally being allowed home. Her injuries have confined her to a wheelchair ever since.

Her partner Geng needed surgery for a punctured lung, broken ribs and also suffered  injuries to his feet. Another passenger suffered bruising.

A pedestrian was also injured in the accident in May last year after being crushed between the taxi and a barrier.

Today, Iqbal, who is studying an accountancy degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, was jailed for 28 months and banned from driving for four years at court.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and also had to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

In Miss Liu’s victim impact statement, she said: “I’m still having medical treatment and still trying to recover from the injuries.

“I still have treatment for my head injury. I get dizzy when I try and sleep I need to take sleeping tablets. I constantly have headaches and I still have a bleed on the brain.

“I still have pain to my heart, it starts like heartburn, I have to have a scan every year for my heart injury.

“I am very emotional, at first I thought it was my hormones with having my son Lucas. There is still not a bond, there seems to be no connection, like you can take him away and no bond would be broken.

“It is very upsetting. I have no memory of giving birth. He is doing fine and is a healthy baby.”

“I have a large scar on my scalp which needed 48 stitches and a 10-12cm scar on my stomach. I have a scar on my left cheek which I have to constantly cover up with make up.

“Since the collision I haven’t gone back to work. It would not be possible as I am unable to stand for too long and get tired very easily. The crash has ruined my life and the start of my family life.”

Prosecutor Brian Berlyne said a witness spotted the VW Golf being driven at speed behind him.

Mr Berlyne said: “He described Mr Iqbal as ‘blasting past him’ and driving at excessive speed. He described him as wobbling along all over the place and looked unsteady.

“A short distance ahead travelling in the same direction was (fellow motorist and witness) Nicola Ferney who observed the black cab travelling in the opposite direction.

“She heard a loud revving noise and saw that Mr Iqbal had overtaken her on her nearside.

“In her words, it was quite fast and then the driver was in collision with the rear near side of the taxi, it started to spin around rapidly.

“Gary Booth was a pedestrian, the taxi collided with him and trapped him against a set of steel railings.”

He said Mr Booth suffered a fractured tibia, fibula, femur and deep wound to his calf and had to have a skin graft to his thigh. One month after the accident, he was still unable to walk unaided.

In his victim impact statement, he said: “Owing to all the injuries I sustained I had to change the type of vehicle I drive.

“I lost my job prior to Christmas owing to the injuries as I was unable to carry out the role.

“I had been a skiing instructor in Switzerland and was hoping to go back into this, it is very unlikely after this.”

Simon Gurney, in mitigation for Iqbal said: “The defendant is fortunate that it was not more serious.

“He accepts full responsibility for his conduct that night for his standard of driving and accepts that it was dangerous.

“He is 21 and of good character coupled with the previously clean driving license.  He maintains he had not seen the taxi.

“He was driving a vehicle with too much power. He was driving far too quickly and in a manner that was inappropriate. The defendant doesn’t seek to blame any other party for what took place that night.”

Passing sentence Recorder Neville Biddell said: “You have caused a significant number of people very, very serious injuries – but, arguably, the level of your dangerous driving is not of the most dangerous level.

“At about 10:30pm you were driving your friend home having been out for the evening.

“You clearly didn’t have the experience to drive it properly, it may have been that you were showing off.

“Ahead of you was Miss Fernley she was able to see the taxi coming towards her, you missed all that and were concentrating on getting back on the inside so you could basically undertake Miss Fernley, whizzing past her.

“You were clearly driving dangerously and 50mph was a dangerously excessive speed. You were cutting in and out of traffic not allowing yourself to see other traffic on the road.

“You drove into the taxi, I have seen the video and photos it is the consequences of what you did, the causing of serious injury.

“Mrs Liu was pregnant within one month of delivery. She sustained extremely serious injuries to her head, neck face and throat to the extent that she was unconscious.

“That had a devastating effect on her.”

Story by Cavendish Press

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