Driver tells how he killed girl ‘while swerving to avoid woman and baby’

A lorry driver told an inquest how he killed an 11-year-old girl in a motorway crash while swerving to avoid a woman and baby in the road.

Iman Zainab Javed died from severe facial and spinal injuries after a HGV ploughed into two crashed cars which had collided in thick fog on the M61.

The schoolgirl, from Rochdale, was in the rear seat of her father’s VW Sharran when it was struck by a Renault Clio and then by a Volvo truck driven by Roderick Macleod.

Iman died from her injuries at the scene on the morning of January 23 last year, Preston Coroner’s Court heard on Monday.

Mr Macleod, from Glasgow, said in a statement read out by the coroner: "I hit a blanket of fog. It’s not like anything I have experienced before. It was like being wrapped in a blanket."

He said that when he emerged from the fog bank he recalled five or six vehicles on the hard shoulder, reports the Manchester Evening News .

"I saw a woman with a baby in her arms standing in lane one. I had to do everything to avoid them,” said Mr Macleod, who added there was ‘no indication’ there were any other vehicles remaining in the carriageway.

He said he ‘could not have stopped’.

“I was in total shock,” he added.

The driver of the Clio, Neil Hodson, said he only had a ‘second or two to react’ when he suddenly hit a thick bank of fog, Preston Coroner’s Court heard on Monday.

Iman’s mother Khaldah Javed, the front seat passenger in the Sharran, said in a statement read to the court the fog was so bad she couldn’t see the bonnet.

She recalled her husband saying he was going to pull over and that he slowed to 10 or 15mph.

"As soon as my husband said he was going to pull over there was a bang to the back of the car and we came to a stop,” she said.

She recalled her daughter saying her chest was hurting and told her it was ‘going to be okay’, the inquest heard.

She got out of the Sharran and could see people walking towards the car.

Mrs Javed recalled shouting ‘no’ but could not recall the collision.

She said she saw a car which had hit the central reservation which ‘looked quite bad’ although she wasn’t sure at first it was her own car. She saw her daughter ‘slumped over’ but then she was moved away.

“A short time later a police officer told me my beautiful daughter had died,” she said.

A police investigation concluded that the HGV was doing 52mph when it hit the two vehicles and that the Clio was travelling at ‘at least’ 57mph when it hit the Sharran, the inquest heard.

Pathologist Alison Armour conducted a post mortem examination and concluded Iman died from severe facial injuries and a fractured cervical spine (neck).

The drivers of the Clio and HGV weren’t hurt. Iman’s father was seriously injured and it is thought he remains in hospital.

Preston area coroner Richard Taylor, recording a narrative verdict, said: “Iman Zainab Javed died on January 23, 2017, on the M61 at Bamber Bridge, Preston, from injuries sustained as a rear seat passenger in a vehicle which was struck from behind in heavy fog.”

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