Drivers who killed boy, 8, while they raced each other are jailed

Speeding driver and his colleague who knocked down and killed eight-year-old boy playing tag while they raced each other are jailed for total of nine years

  • Safiullah Asif, 8, died after being hit by a BMW in a residential street in July 2020
  • Kevin Jones, 36, and Thomas McGrath, 25, both jailed for more than four years 

A speeding driver and his colleague who knocked down and killed an eight-year-old boy who was playing tag have both been jailed for four years and eight months.

Safiullah Asif was hit by a BMW in a residential street in Ashton-under-Lyne while he played with his brother and cousin on the evening of July 23, 2020.

The BMW was being driven by 36-year-old Kevin Jones.

His work colleague Thomas McGrath, 25, had been in front of Jones in his VW Polo just before the fatal collision and had missed Safiullah ‘by chance’. 

Appearing before Bolton Crown Court today, the pair were jailed for causing death by dangerous driving and jailed for more nine years combined.

Safiullah Latif Asif, who died after the catastrophic injuries after the crash near to his home

Kevin Jones, 36, (pictured) was jailed for four years and eight months

Thomas McGrath, 25, (pictured) was jailed for four years and eight months

They were also told they will also be disqualified from driving for five years upon their release from prison. 

The court heard how, shortly after 8.15pm on July 23, 2020, officers were called to Ryecroft Street to reports of a collision involving a car and a pedestrian.

Safiullah was sent ‘flying through the air’ and suffered traumatic injuries following the crash on July 23, 2020

He later died at Manchester Children’s Hospital.  

Witnesses described seeing two cars travelling very fast down Ryecroft Street just before the collision, with one thinking they were treating the road as a ‘race-track’.

Another had shouted for the vehicles to ‘slow down’ as they flew around the bend, after he felt they were travelling too fast – and too close to each other.

The same witness reported a load bang before he saw a small child lying ‘motionless in the road’.

Thomas McGrath (pictured), 25, leaving Manchester Minshull Street Court

Floral tributes to Safiullah Asif, eight, who died on July 24, 2020, one day after being struck by a car in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester

Jones, who had been driving the BMW, stopped after the accident, but McGrath did not.

Officers on the scene discovered that Jones was driving without insurance, on an expired provisional driving licence.

He admitted to the offences at the scene and later pleaded guilty on May 27, 2021.

McGrath was traced but denied the offence. He pleaded not guilty on December 13, 2021 but was found guilty after at trial in January this year.

A report found that Jones was travelling at approximately 50mph in a 20mph zone, and McGrath at an average speed of between 42 and 48mph.

PC Adam Scott of the Specialist Operations Roads Policing Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: ‘First of all, our thoughts remain with the family of Saffiullah Latif Asif, who grieve and miss their son every single day.

‘We are pleased with today’s result, and we hope that this goes some way to help Saffiullah’s family, knowing that both Jones and McGrath are off the streets and cannot hurt anyone else.

‘This was an extremely serious road traffic collision, and we would urge everyone to adhere to speed limits and behave in a responsible way on the roads.

‘As this case has shown, standards of driving like this result in the loss of lives and in this case, a young boy’s life.

‘These standards will not be tolerated by Greater Manchester Police and we will vigorously target these offenders.’

Speaking after the sentencing, Saffiullah’s father said: ‘I am content with the sentencing today.

‘We have lost Saffiullah and he will never come back but I am pleased that we have finally got some justice.

‘Please can we ask that our privacy is respected so we can grieve for the loss of our son.’

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