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A driver filmed travelling at over 120mph on the M602 told a police officer after being pulled over that he was ‘fasting and ‘wanted to get home’.
Bilal Ahmed, 26, was seen weaving in and out of lanes and tailgating other vehicles on the motorway in Salford before eventually being stopped.
And in court yesterday (Wednesday), Ahmed narrowly avoided going straight to prison after a judge said it was a ‘miracle’ he did not end up in a crash.
Ahmed’s silver Audi A3 was travelling on the M602 at around 8,15pm on Thursday May 6 this year when it came to the attention of the unmarked police car, which began following him.
For the entire time Ahmed was observed, he was travelling above the speed limit and at one point reached 121mph, the court was told.
Five minutes of footage of his ‘aggressive’ driving, filmed from the police car’s dashboard camera, was played during his sentencing hearing at Manchester Crown Court.
Ahmed’s barrister said her client didn’t initially realise it was a police car behind him and that as soon as it activated its blue lights he stopped and pulled over.
When asked about what he had just done by an officer, Ahmed “responded by saying he was driving in that manner due to fasting and he wanted to get home”, Denise Fitzpatrick, prosecuting, said.
He was also found not to be insured on the car, she added.
Ahmed, of Ryebank Road, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at the magistrates’ court to dangerous driving and driving without insurance.
Rachel Cooper, defending, said Ahmed “had concerns” about the car following him “due to car-jackings in the area.”
However, a judge said she simply “didn’t accept this.”
Ms Cooper also said Ahmed’s now-wife had an ex-partner who he claimed had been abusive to them both. Ahmed said he had been at her home on the day in question ‘calming her down’ so this had ‘played into his state of mind.’
“Part of his concern as he was driving was whether this man had reached out to people in the local community and that’s why he was being followed,” Ms Cooper said.
She said Ahmed was not a “boy racer” and had got to the age of 26 with no driving or criminal convictions of any kind.
He was ‘ashamed of himself’, she said, adding that his large family were ‘extremely disappointed in him.’
She said he had not driven since the incident, had sold his car, and had now obtained a new job in Salford which he could travel to by tram.
The judge, Elizabeth Nicholls, said she was just about able to suspend his prison term but said that he could come very close to going straight to custody.
“The manner of your driving put other road users’ safety in jeopardy,” she said.
“You were driving at excessive speed, always above the speed limit and you were tailgating.
“At one stage you reached speeds in excess of 120mph.
“It’s nothing short of a miracle that no accident was caused.
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“I don’t accept your explanation. You were driving aggressively because that was the way in which you had chosen to drive.”
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for a year, and was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
“You came this close to receiving an immediate sentence of imprisonment,” Judge Nicholls added.
“Your driving was wholly unacceptable and unacceptable because you failed in your social duty to drive in a careful way considerate of other road users.”
This content was originally published here.