Learner driver killed dad-of-three while driving with fogged up windscreen

Derek Blackshaw was killed after 17-year-old Ali Zafar struck him while driving in a supermarket car park.

Learner driver killed dad-of-three Derek Blackshaw while driving in car park with fogged up windscreen Police Scotland

A learner driver who killed a father-of-three returning from a funeral after driving dangerously in a supermarket car park was jailed for four years.

Ali Zafar was aged 17 and at the wheel of a vehicle with a fogged up windscreen before he fatally collided with pedestrian Derek Blackshaw.

Zafar, now 19, had been allowed to borrow the keys for the vehicle on the basis that he did not drive the car.

A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh that he had read victim impact statements from the deceased’s family and said they were “bereft” and “devastated”.

Judge John McCormick said no sentence which the court could impose would reflect their loss or grief.

He told Zafar that a custodial sentence was required and added: “It is necessary to punish you, to seek to deter you and others from driving in such a dangerous manner and, of course, to protect the public.”

The judge pointed out that the aggravating features included Zafar driving at speed in the car park and failing to stop and alert the authorities after the collision.

He told him he would have faced a six year jail term for the offence, but it would be reduced to take account of his guilty plea.

The judge banned Zafar from driving for eight years and ordered that he must pass an extended test before holding a driving licence in future.

Zafar, of Calfhill Road, Glasgow, earlier admitted causing the death of Mr Blackshaw (46) on October 1 in 2021 at a Morrison car park in the city’s Cardonald area by dangerous driving.

He drove the vehicle while visibility was obscured by condensation on the windscreen, at excessive speed for the conditions, failed to maintain observations and failed to react to the presence of the project manager victim.

Zafar, who held a provisional licence at the time, was travelling at an average speed of 32 mph in the car park and said to a passenger in the car that he had “just hit a guy” before driving away from the scene.  

Mr Blackshaw had attended the funeral of a family friend earlier in the day and after visiting a snooker club was taking a shortcut home when he was struck and killed.

The court heard that Zafar had asked if he could borrow a colleague’s car keys to listen to music in the vehicle. Muneed Naeem agreed on condition that he did not move the car.

But Zafar drove along Paisley Road West before turning into the car park and was driving over a 30 mph limit before the fatal incident.

He drove back to a takeaway and told the owner of the car what had occurred. Mr Naeem thought it was a joke at first until he saw damage to the vehicle. He then contacted emergency services and went to the scene and attempted CPR on the victim.

Defence counsel Duncan McPhie said first offender Zafar was remorseful and wished to apologise to the bereaved family.

He lodged a letter with the court from the mosque Zafar attended and said the teenager did charity work there.

Mr McPhie said the court would no doubt have regard to the guidelines for sentencing young people given the age of Zafar at the time of the offence and now.

A family statement released through lawyers Digby Brown, said: “While no sentence could ever reflect the loss of Derek or our pain, we still feel saddened by the final outcome and the relatively short length of time that driver will likely spend behind bars.

“Derek was wholesome, honourable and adored and the loss of such a man is felt by more than his family and friends – it is also felt by the wider community which as enhanced through his work, time and desire to help others.

“Any bereaved family who has endured the criminal justice system will tell you there is no such thing as closure – there is only an end to paperwork and proceedings.

“So our only comfort is the knowledge that this painful process has stopped and we can now move forwards with the same dignity and strength as Derek would have done.”

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