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Driver who killed cyclist in head-on crash while racing another car jailed

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Muniir Ali appeared at the Old Bailey (PA)

A driver who killed a cyclist in a head-on crash while racing another vehicle, before fleeing the scene, has been jailed for 12 years and six months.

Muniir Ali, 31, was overtaking another car, which he had been racing, when he hit Stewart Grainger with his BMW 118 Sport on Mitcham Road, Croydon, south London, on May 30 2022, the Old Bailey heard.

Ali, who the court heard was driving at about 40mph in a 30mph zone, left the crash scene just after 3am, and while passers-by tried to help Mr Grainger, who was pronounced dead shortly after.

The defendant handed himself into police later the same day.

During the trial he denied driving the car and said a friend was responsible, the court heard.

Sarah Morris, prosecuting, described Ali’s driving as “racing or competitive”.

His last moments would have been those of sheer terror
Judge Alexia Durran

She said Ali knew he was travelling at at least 40mph in a 30mph zone.

The crash was caught on CCTV in the area, and also on Mr Grainger’s helmet camera.

The helmet camera “clearly shows you driving straight at him”, Judge Alexia Durran said.

She added: “His last moments would have been those of sheer terror.”

Ali told the jury during the trial that he had gone to an event with friends where he drank alcohol for the first time, which is against his religion, to celebrate passing his first train driver exams.

The defendant said his friend put him in the car and it was the friend driving him home.

But the judge said the jury rejected this evidence.

Ali, of Fairlands Avenue, Thornton Heath, Croydon, was found guilty by a jury of causing the death by dangerous driving of Mr Grainger.

Tracey Grainger, Mr Grainger’s partner, said in a victim impact statement: “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
Tracey Grainger

“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 that Mr Grainger did not get the chance to meet his grandsons, who were born after he died.

Jade Brazier-Howe, Mr Grainger’s step-daughter, described Mr Grainger as “the most amazing man” who was “always there to help everyone, from giving advice to raising money for charities”, in her victim impact statement.

Roy Headlam, defending, said Ali “appreciates that nothing I say on his behalf will make up for the loss the family of Mr Grainger has faced”.

He added that Ali is “extremely sorry and remorseful”.

Ali pleaded guilty to failing to stop after a road accident and failing to report a road accident, during the hearing on Friday.

Ali, who has a previous conviction for careless driving from 2017, was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison, of which he will serve two thirds.

He will also be disqualified from driving for seven years after his release from prison and will have to take an extended driving test.

Judge Durran said she was not satisfied Ali was remorseful, adding: “It was not a pure accident, it was a deliberate and flagrant piece of dangerous driving in which you killed a entirely innocent man.”

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