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Thursday, October 1, 1998 Published at 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK


UK

Porsche driver guilty of killing pensioners

The sisters were killed as they walked along pavement

A teenager has been convicted of causing the deaths of two elderly sisters by dangerous driving.


John McIntyre reports from Stafford Crown Court
Satvinder Nijjer, 19, was showing off to schoolfriends when he lost control of his Porsche sports car.

Nijjer, of Long Knowle Lane, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, had denied two counts of causing death by dangerous driving on 12 February last year.


[ image: Porsche on pavement after the accident]
Porsche on pavement after the accident
Lavinia Carrington, 78, and her sister Winifred, 76, died instantly when they were hit by the Porsche 944 Convertible as they walked along the pavement.

The jury unanimously convicted Nijjer after a nine-day trial at Stafford Crown Court.

He showed no emotion as the jury found him guilty after deliberating for three-and-a-half hours.


John McIntyre: "A very tragic story"
He was remanded in custody pending pre-sentence reports.

The court had heard that Nijjer had taken two friends for a ride in the car during a school lunch break on the day of the tragedy.

Nijjer, who at the time was a sixth-former studying for A-levels at St Edmund's Roman Catholic School, has since begun studying at Birmingham University.

He was bought the £14,000 red sports car by his father Surinder as an 18th birthday present, just nine months after passing his driving test.

The prosecution said Nijjer was trying to complete a circuit around the school along residential streets in a 30mph zone.

He was travelling at a speed of up to 70mph - when he lost control of the Porsche.

Birthday celebration

The Carrington sisters were walking along the pavement as they returned from a shopping trip to celebrate Winifred's birthday when they were hit.


[ image: Teenager was given high performance car by father]
Teenager was given high performance car by father
One of the sisters was thrown into the air and tossed aside, while the other was dragged along the ground by the car.

Nijjer and two friends managed to scramble clear of the vehicle and were not hurt.

The teenager claimed he attempted a safe overtaking manoeuvre at 30mph.

Nijjer said the car went out of control because of a faulty ball joint, which caused it to swerve violently and mount the pavement.

The court was told by a mechanic that the car was faulty and that it probably had a false mileage reading.

But prosecution witnesses who lived in Henwood Road, where the accident happened, told the court they had heard and seen the car travelling at motorway speeds.

One witness said he saw the vehicle travelling at excessive speeds on a number of occasions prior to the tragedy.

On the day before the fatal crash he saw the Porsche, which had a personalised number plate, travelling at up to 60mph on the same stretch of road.

Suffering

PC Jonathan Jackson, who headed the police inquiry, said the Carrington family had suffered enormously since the deaths.


[ image: Marks on grass show Porsche's path]
Marks on grass show Porsche's path
"Perhaps now it is time for consideration of legislation to limit young inexperienced drivers driving such high-performance sports cars on the road," he said.

Remanding Nijjer in custody pending reports, Judge Warner added his voice to the PC's criticism. of the boy's family.

"What on earth was his father doing providing him with a car that was way beyond his capabilities?

"He spent £5,000 on insurance that may have well been better spent on extra driving lessons," he said.

After the verdict Mr William Middleton, a cousin of the Carringtons, said:

"It's what I would have expected after listening to all the evidence."

The boy's uncle, Harjit Nijjer, said the family would appeal.

"We're absolutely devastated. This was an accident, it was not death by dangerous driving.

"Satvinder has suffered terribly."

The boy's father was not in court to hear the jury's decision.



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