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Final moments of four friends killed as banned ‘high’ driver fled police

A prohibited driver who had been drinking and taking Class A substances crashed his uninsured BMW vehicle just seconds after a police pursuit began.

Driver Murtza Chaudhry, 21, and passengers Arbaaz Hussain, 21, Zeeshan Khalid, 20 and Tayyab Siddique, 22, all died in the collision when their BMW hit a tree.

One witness to the Bradford crash described the impact as sounding “like a bomb had gone off”, reports Yorkshire Live.

An inquest heard today how Mr Chaudhry had consumed more than twice the legal alcohol limit and taken cocaine and cannabis.

At the time of the crash, Mr Chaudhry was a banned driver due to a conviction for drinking and driving.

The collision occurred in Bradford

The inquest was told that an axe was found near the car but could not be linked to any of the occupants.

Another axe was found in a footwell of the BMW and a knuckleduster was on the rear seat. Small amounts of cocaine and cannabis were also found.

The inquest heard evidence from a police driver who told senior coroner Martin Fleming that his pursuit of the speeding BMW was “justified and proportionate”.

Moments after the pursuit started, the BMW crashed into a tree, leaving four people dead.

PC Robert Hoyle, of West Yorkshire Police, said he reached speeds of 100mph as he followed a grey BMW through Bradford for just over a minute before the crash in August 2018, but did not get close to it.

Giving evidence, PC Hoyle said about one minute and five seconds elapsed between him spotting the BMW and it crashing into the tree.

He said they followed the car in their unmarked police BMW but never managed to close the gap and never got within half a mile of the car they were following.

The officer said: “The BMW did not slow down. In fact, it probably accelerated. At one point I was travelling at 100mph and it was still ahead.”

Aftermath of the crash on Toller Lane, Bradford, in August 2018
Aftermath of the crash on Toller Lane, Bradford, in August 2018

Responding to questions from the coroner, PC Hoyle said the pursuit was so short there was no time to get authorisation from his control supervisor nor to conduct a “dynamic risk assessment”.

When the coroner asked him whether he thought the pursuit was “justified and proportionate”, the officer said: “I believed at that time it was, yes.”

He told the inquest: “He knew we were there and he had a requirement to stop, which he didn’t.”

PC Hoyle said he had been patrolling the streets of Bradford for 27 years.

He explained how the grey BMW attracted their attention because it was travelling at speed, crossing the central white line and going the wrong side of a bollard.

In a statement, toxicologist Elizabeth Fox said tests showed Mr Chaudhry was found to have alcohol in his blood at a level of 176 micrograms per 100 millilitres. The legal limit is 80. She said he had also taken cocaine and cannabis.

In another statement, witness Usma Khan, who lives nearby, said: “It sounded like a bomb had gone off, it was so loud.”

He said he saw police officers around the wrecked car and one was repeatedly shouting “find the ‘expletive’ drugs”.

Detective Sergeant Fiona Allen told the inquest that an axe was found near the car but could not be linked to any of the occupants.

She said another axe was found in a footwell and a knuckleduster was on the rear seat. The detective said small amounts of cocaine and cannabis were also found.

Tayyab Siddique
Tayyab Siddique

She confirmed Chaudhry was banned from driving due to a drink-drive conviction at the time of the crash.

The BMW had been sighted earlier at Chellow Heights petrol station where the occupants had bought vodka and some plastic glasses.

Mr Fleming said it appeared that the BMW had been driving around as a “social event” and that the four friends had met up to “catch up” and where drugs and alcohol had been taken.

The coroner suggested the “legal status of the driver”, along with the drink and drugs and items found in the car, would have provided a “motivation not to stop” for the police.

The inquest heard that all four men died from multiple injuries. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Family members told the hearing the backgrounds of the young men.

Tayyab, 22, was born in London and later moved to Bradford.

He was very quiet and kept himself to himself, his dad said. He left school at 16 without any GCSEs.

He enjoyed football and supported Manchester United.

Tayyab worked in his dad’s takeaway in Beeston, Leeds. He would give out free food to people who could not pay. His dad said he was generous, well-mannered, and very loving.

He was married in Pakistan in 2018 and had a son with his wife, the inquest was told.

Tayyab later worked at Speedibake.

Zeeshan’s family said he loved cricket and was a good all-rounder.

Zeeshan Khalid
Zeeshan Khalid

He enjoyed boxing and snooker and had gone to college to study science.

He had worked at Farmer’s Boy in Bradford and then as a pizza delivery driver.

Zeeshan was a close friend of Arbaaz.

His family said Zeeshan did not like the area the family was living in as there were too many fights and disturbances.

Zeeshan was a ‘soft-hearted person’ who would always help people. They said he was maturing in his outlook and was ambitious for his family.

Arbaaz Hussain
Arbaaz Hussain

Arbaaz loved cars and was interested in business, his mum said in a statement.

She said he had plans to start a business and was ‘very ambitious’.

Murtza had been living with his granddad who described him as personable and sociable.

He said Murtza was passionate about cars.

Senior coroner Mr Fleming called the crash a “terrible tragedy”.

The inquest was adjourned until tomorrow.

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