A Stockport businesswoman was mowed down and killed in a road smash in Dubai by a woman who mistook the accelerator for the foot brake as she was parking her car.
Sarah Rahman, 42, who had a shop called The Body Whispers in Cheadle Hulme, was walking back to her hotel when she hit by an SUV that veered out of control and mounted a pavement whilst pulling into a parking bay.
The driver Lara Ali Ali, 31, a Syrian journalist had only passed her driving test three days earlier and instead of putting her foot on the brake hit the accelerator pedal instead.
The vehicle ploughed into Sarah before smashing through a shop front.
The victim – a nutrition and herbal medicine consultant who appeared on TV shows back in the UK – suffered fatal crush injuries in the impact and died later in hospital.
Miss Ali Ali was subsequently convicted of an offence similar to causing death by careless driving but escaped with a three month driving ban and a fine of 10,000 Dirham which is the equivalent of £1,795.
She was also ordered to pay the equivalent of £35,920 in compensation to Sarah’s family.
Sarah, who was single and had no children, appeared on UKTV Style show The Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses and wrote for lifestyle magazines.
A Manchester inquest was told the tragedy occurred on December 22 2012 when Sarah was hosting workshops in Dubai.
It is throught she had been offered a year-long job in the Arab emirate and was due to meet her elderly mother who had flown over to visit – they were due to go shopping together.
Coroner Nigel Meadows who recorded a verdict of death by road traffic collision told the inquest: “On 22nd December 2012 the deceased was out at a shopping mall in Dubai when a vehicle driven by Lara Ali Ali, who was 31 years of age and was a Syrian national, was pulling into a parking bay in front of the shopping area. In error instead of pressing the break peddle she pressed the accelerator.”
The coroner said Ali Ali’s vehicle ‘increased in speed’ and she ‘lost control of her car’ before it mounted the footpath.
He added: “The vehicle left the parking area and unfortunately Miss Rahman just happened to be positioned there. There was a collision with the vehicle and Miss Rahman and it entered a shop front at the same time.”
Shortly after the crash at 3.45pm on Khadamat Avenue, emergency services were called and Sarah was taken to Rashid Hospital, yet she succumbed the following day to multiple organ failure caused by severe pelvic and spinal injuries.
Mr Meadows said: “Ms Ali Ali was arrested by the police and was subjected to a routine breathalyser which she passed. She also explained that she had simply pressed the wrong pedal.
“Subsequently I understand she was physically arrested. There was then what I would describe as a conviction in the local courts in Dubai. She accepted her driving had fallen below an appropriate standard.”
Sarah’s mother Zarina, 73, told the inquest that her daughter had been in Dubai to run health workshops and lectures and that they both intended to come home at the end of January 2013.
She said: “She went there to promote natural medicine and she was there for three months to try and give lectures and workshops. I was there. We were going to come back in January, both of us. I joined her on the December 5n to come back together.”
The inquest was told that Sarah and her mother had plans to meet up to go shopping before the tragedy struck.
Zarina said: “She left quite early in the morning about 11am. She said she was going to be very busy and would come back around 9.30pm. She phoned at 2pm from a building where the financial district is.
“She said she was going to come home and she would pick me up and we would do a bit of shopping. The accident happened when she was walking toward where I was.”
Zarina did not witness the incident but after being made aware travelled to Rashid Hospital to see her daughter who was having emergency surgery.
She said: “When she came out of the theatre after the operation she was then in intensive care, I was able to see her for a bit but she was unconscious.”
The hearing was told the Dubai authorities had failed to supply information on the time it took to call the ambulance, obtain CCTV evidence, details of the care Sarah received in hospital and her medical records.
Speaking after the inquest, Zarina, accompanied by her son Mustafa, 37, said: “She was beautiful inside and out. She was a natural herbalist. She worked four years to become a qualified life coach. She absolutely loved her job.
“I think she was a healer through and through. She was very caring and always wanted to look after people. She was my helper, my student, my teacher. She was everything to me. It is such an utterly useless death.
“The driver got a very light punishment. She was only held in prison for three days and she was banned for just three months. I think that is nothing for taking someone’s life. In the report it said she was driving without due care, then she was not really paying attention to what she was doing.”
Story via Cavendish Press.
Image courtesy of Khaleej Times, with thanks.