Preston death crash: Driver 'did not see women in road'

A driver accused of texting at the wheel before hitting two women and killing them was "looking straight at the road", a jury has heard.

Mohmed Salman Patel, 26, did not see Shelby Maher, 17, and Rachel Murphy, 23, as they crossed the road, Preston Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Francis McEntree said his "story does not stack up".

Mr Patel, of Carham Road, Blackburn, denies two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The prosecution has argued Mr Patel was "more interested" his mobile phone as he sent two text messages to his girlfriend shortly before the collision on the A59 Brockholes Brow in Preston on 20 April 2016.

Within 42 seconds of sending the second message he had struck Miss Maher, who died in hospital, and Miss Murphy, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

'Driving normally'

Another teenage girl in the group of five friends crossing the road was seriously injured and was in hospital for a week.

When interviewed about the incident, Mr Patel said he did not see any pedestrians but heard a bang and initially thought a brick may have hit his windscreen so he pulled over.

Asked what he was doing when he heard the bang, he replied: "I was driving normally. Looking straight at the road."

The defendant, who was taking his mother and sister on a shopping trip in his BMW 3 Series, said he was wearing sunglasses because it was a sunny day but his vision was not affected.

Mr Patel told police the final message was sent "well before" the point of collision while stationary at a set of traffic lights when, he said, it was "safe to do so".

Prosecutor Francis McEntree said it was understood from his defence statement that Mr Patel was now saying the message was sent at a different set of lights nearer the crash scene.

"We say he has literally moved the position in the realisation that his story does not stack up," he said.

Mr Patel has entered pleas to causing death by careless driving but the Crown said his driving was dangerous and fell far below the standard of a careful and competent driver.

The trial, expected to last up to seven days, continues.

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