Driver jailed for causing death of brother in “race” crash
A motorist who killed his younger brother and two friends while racing another car at over 100mph on a motorway has been jailed for more than five years.
Shopkeeper Sabbir Sedoo, 28, was racing his brother Suleiman, 24, on the M5 in Gloucestershire at speeds estimated by witnesses to be as high as 130mph when the fatal crash happened.
Gloucester Crown Court heard that Suleiman Sedoo, who was driving a Mercedes hire car, ploughed into the rear of a stationary Ginsters lorry which had stopped to alert motorists to an earlier collision near the Strensham motorway services.
He died alongside passengers Ekbal Miah, 23, and Jarrod Campbell, 23. Front seat passenger Majid Malik survived.
Sabbir Sedoo, who was driving a black Mazda 6, was behind his brother's car and tried to avoid the collision but clipped another vehicle and hit a crash barrier. He and his two passengers escaped with minor injuries.
Prosecutor Janine Wood said: "The circumstances of this case are extremely tragic involving the deaths of three young people, one of whom was the defendant's brother.
"Mr Sedoo's driving had come to the attention of other drivers on the M5 because of the way the Mazda was being driven and the fact witnesses say he was racing with a silver Mercedes being driven by his brother."
Miss Wood said seven friends were in two cars returning to Gloucester in the early hours of June 2 last year when they died. They had gone to Birmingham the previous evening to celebrate Mr Campbell's birthday.
Several motorists noticed the two cars were racing each other just feet apart along a 30-mile stretch of the southbound carriageway.
Miss Wood said the tragedy unfolded when a Ginsters HGV driver saw that an MG car had collided with the central reservation and stopped the lorry in the middle lane next to the car.
The lorry driver put on his hazard warning lights to warn other motorists and telephoned the emergency services to alert them. It was while he waited for assistance that Mr Sedoo's car ploughed into the back of his lorry.
Following the crash blood tests found the defendant had 7.5mg of cannabis per litre of blood in his body. The legal limit is 2mg per litre.
At a previous hearing Sedoo, of Falkner Street, Tredworth, Gloucester, admitted three charges of causing death by dangerous driving.
George Threlfall, defending, said: "What the court does not know is that this man's brother died in his arms on the M5 motorway.
"Mrs Sedoo has lost her son and will lose another son to a term of imprisonment.
"He has not been able to forgive himself and he is never going to be able to forgive himself. This is inevitably going to live with him, haunt him, for the rest of his days.
"He is going to pay a very high price for what he appreciates was irresponsible behaviour of a very high degree.
"Fundamentally he is a wholly decent young man which makes it even more of a tragedy that he is going to be deprived of his liberty."
Judge Jamie Tabor QC, the Recorder of Gloucester, sentenced Sedoo to five years and four months' imprisonment and banned him from driving for the same period.
"Cases of this nature are always ridden with sadness and grief. Three young lives have been lost quite unnecessarily and the consequences of the collision that night will last forever," he said.
"No one in this court can fail to be deeply affected by the tragic events on the M5 that night. I know I speak for everyone in the court when I say my heart goes out to the families of the three deceased.
"The first person to notice your driving was Julie Robbins. You were in the lead when you overtook her. You were driving so fast she immediately thought 'bloody idiots'.
"From then on several motorists, including professional lorry drivers, saw both cars travelling at excessive speeds in excess of 120mph.
"It wasn't simply the speed that drew the attention of these professional drivers but the manner in which you were driving very close together.
"It was described as idiotic driving - more importantly it was highly dangerous - not only to the people inside the two cars but other road users.
"This was not a momentary piece of bad driving because it continues from junction one of the M5 to junction eight, a distance of 29 miles.
"You were so engrossed in racing that you completely missed what was in front of you - you missed the hazard warning lights.
"What followed was carnage. The Mercedes smashed into the rear of the parked lorry. You tried to get past on the nearside and ricocheted off the barrier.
"Your behaviour was grossly irresponsible. There was in my judgment a period of showing off. This was a very sustained piece of dangerous driving over a period of 29 miles. It was a recipe for disaster.
"I have no doubt that you are a very hard-working and responsible man but on that day you drove and behaved like an idiot."