Motorist killed boy on bike after driving at 'grossly excessive' speed

Harley Smith, 16, died after he was hit by Sami Ula Jabbar in Falkirk in November 2019.

Sami Ula Jabbar killed Harley Smith after driving 80mph in 30mph zone in Falkirk SNS Group

A motorist killed a schoolboy cyclist after driving at “grossly excessive” speed in dark and foggy conditions.

Sami Ula Jabbar was travelling at about 80mph in a 30mph zone in a Mercedes E400 when he collided with 16-year-old Harley Smith.

A judge told the 29-year-old at the High Court in Edinburgh: “Be under no misapprehension here. This is a very serious matter.”

Lord Mulholland said: “Cyclists are as much entitled to use the roads, the Queen’s highway, as motorists and they are entitled to feel safe and be safe.” 

“You have taken a young man’s life. Loved by his family, you have delivered to them a life sentence, a life sentence of loss and grief,” he said.

The judge rejected a plea to release Jabbar on bail ahead of sentencing him next month after he pleaded guilty to causing the death of Harley on November 6 in 2020 by driving dangerously in roads in Falkirk, in Stirlingshire.

The St Mungo’s High School pupil was struck after trying to cross Polmont Road, at Laurieston, and suffered fatal head injury.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the court: “It is obvious that Harley Smith was a much loved young man who had great ambition in life and enriched the lives of others.”

The prosecutor said that earlier in the evening the teenager had left his home in Grangemouth with his bike after telling his mother that he wanted to go out for a while. 

He met up with friends and after time spent socialising they decided to return to their homes.

Mr Prentice said that a couple, Alan and Jill Dougal, were out walking their dogs when they became aware of the car being driven by Jabbar travelling at high speed.

“As it approached the Mary Street roundabout Mr Dougal was concerned that the driver would lose control of the vehicle as it appeared to tilt slightly to its left as it navigated the roundabout. Jill Dougal remonstrated towards the driver to encourage him to slow down,” he said.

“At this time a bus on the road ahead was pulling into a bus stop. The Mercedes motor car navigated around the bus by entering the opposing lane contrary to the ‘keep left’ bollard situated on the road,” he said.

Mr Prentice said Donald Conroy, a motorist driving on Polmont Road, saw the Mercedes travelling at “a very high speed”.

“He observed in his rear view mirror the Mercedes screeching to a halt and a person being propelled into the air to the height of what seemed like the ‘top of the lamp post’,” said the prosecutor.

Mr Prentice added: “What Mr Conroy saw was the accused colliding with Harley Smith who was crossing the road. The accused drove towards the locus at a speed estimated to be around 80 mph.”

“Collision investigators are of the view that the collision and impact would not have occurred had the accused abided by the speed limits and had adjusted his driving to the circumstances. I say that because it was foggy and dark,” he told the court.

Police arrived to secure the scene and convenience store owner Jabbar, of Jarvie Road, Falkirk, admitted that he was the driver at the time of the collision.

The court heard he has previous convictions, including for careless driving and had been freed under two bail orders from Falkirk Sheriff Court at the time of the crash.

He said: “I was driving along the road with my two friends in the car and out of nowhere out on the right-hand side, a cyclist appeared wearing all black on an all-black bike and then I never seen him and then boom, he came right on top of the windscreen.”

Defence counsel Tony Lenehan said it was accepted that “a substantial prison sentence” would be imposed for the offence.

Sentence was deferred on Jabbar for the preparation of a background report.

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