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Monday, 5 August, 2002, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Driver jailed over bonnet prank death
Marton Drive, Telford, Shropshire
The incident happened in Marton Drive
A driver who "snuffed out" a young girl's life in a prank that went wrong has been jailed for three years.

Rebecca Watson, 13, suffered fatal head injuries after she fell from the bonnet of a car being driven by Ahmed Nawaz.

At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Monday, the 21-year-old admitted his reckless driving had caused Rebecca's death.

The court heard that Nawaz, from King Street, in the Wellington area of Telford, Shropshire, had been driving his Honda Civic car in the area when the incident occurred on 4 March this year.

Conflicting reports

The prosecution said that Rebecca had been with friends in Telford's Martin Drive and had struck up a conversation with Nawaz.

Prosecutor Nicholas Webb said there were conflicting reports of what happened next - some witnesses said that Nawaz's car wheels spun before moving off.


There was evidence that she was enjoying it - but she simply should not have done it.

Denis Desmond, defence counsel

Police statements said the girl had been screaming for him to stop, while others said she had been in conversation with him while the car was moving.

Police investigators concluded the Honda car had been travelling between 20 and 25mph when the accident happened.

Mr Webb said it was unclear whether Rebecca had fallen or jumped off the car but she had been on the bonnet for a distance of 200 metres and the whole journey lasted about 30 seconds.

'Tragic prank'

Nawaz, a restaurant worker, was originally charged with manslaughter but pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving.

Denis Desmond, defending, described the incident as a "prank that went tragically wrong".

"It is right she sat on the bonnet and there was evidence that she was enjoying it - but she simply should not have done it.

"He accepts that he was going too fast and that he should not have done it.

"Mr Nawaz simply did not think that she would jump off."

Driving ban

Passing sentence, Judge Granville Styler said that Nawaz had "snuffed out" Rebecca's life.

"Your driving on that evening was very dangerous and it had tragic consequences.

"This court takes a dim view of people using their motor cars for dangerous pranks and this case has shown what the consequences of that are."

Nawaz was also banned from driving for five years and ordered to re-sit his test when the ban ended.


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