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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Jamie Grierson

Man who killed pregnant woman after driving at 123mph on M66 jailed for 12 years

Frankie Jules-Hough photographed smiling in a park
Frankie Jules-Hough, 38, and her unborn daughter died two days after the car they were in was hit by Adil Iqbal’s vehicle. Photograph: Family handout/GoFundMe/PA

A man who killed a pregnant woman as he filmed himself speeding at 123mph has been handed a 12-year prison sentence.

Adil Iqbal, 22, was driving with one hand and holding his phone with the other to film himself, possibly to upload to Facebook, as he tailgated and undertook other vehicles and swerved across lanes, reaching a speed of 123mph in his father’s BMW on the M66 in Bury, Greater Manchester, on 13 May.

Frankie Jules-Hough, 38, had pulled over on the hard shoulder with a tyre puncture, with her two sons and nephew in her car, and was making a call to say she would be late when she let out a “blood-curdling scream”, Minshull Street crown court in Manchester heard.

Iqbal had undertaken a motorbike then swerved and overcompensated. The BMW 140i he was driving hit a crash barrier before it spun around and ploughed into Jules-Hough’s Skoda Fabia at an estimated 92mph.

Jules-Hough, 17 weeks pregnant with her first daughter, Neeve, suffered unsurvivable brain injuries and never regained consciousness. Her daughter died with her two days later in hospital.

Her son Thomas Spencer, nine, and nephew Tobias Welby, four, were left in comas suffering serious brain injuries, and their long-term outcomes remain uncertain, the court heard. Both spent weeks in intensive care.

Iqbal, from Accrington, Lancashire, admitted two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one count of causing the death by dangerous driving of Jules-Hough.

Solicitors for Frankie Jules-Hough’s family, Rose Gibson-Harper (left) and Polly Herbert
The solicitors for Frankie Jules-Hough’s family, Rose Gibson-Harper (left) and Polly Herbert, read a statement outside Minshull Street crown court, Manchester. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Rose Gibson-Harper, a solicitor representing Jules-Hough’s family, severely criticised the sentence.

“Today’s 12-year sentence is insulting and an injustice to the catastrophic injuries little Tobias sustained, and the life sentence Mrs Hough’s family were needlessly handed following her and her unborn daughter’s death due to an act of sheer stupidity,” she said.

“Last year, judges were given the power to hand down greater sentences to those convicted of death by dangerous driving – previously, the maximum tariff was 14 years but it was increased to life imprisonment.

“This case stands as one of the worst examples of dangerous driving I have witnessed in my 27-year career as a catastrophic injury lawyer, and we expected the justice system to fulfil its duty and utilise its newfound powers.

“It is important to emphasise that dangerous driving is not a game. It has real and devastating consequences, and we must collectively work towards creating a society that values responsible driving and prioritises the safety of all road users. We urge everyone to reflect upon this tragic incident, which should serve as a wake-up call for humanity.”

Jules-Hough had been on the phone to Thomas’s father, who, along with other family, dashed to the scene as emergency services and air ambulances arrived.

Dashcam footage and footage from Iqbal’s phone was shown to the court, watched by relatives of Jules-Hough, some of whom gave heart-rending victim impact statements before the defendant was jailed.

Passing sentence, the judge, Maurice Greene, told him: “She was killed as a result of the most indescribable reckless driving by you, Adil Iqbal, leading to the devastation of a family.”

Iqbal dropped his phone as he lost control of the car and hit Jules-Hough’s car.

Jules-Hough’s partner, Calvin Buckley, the father of unborn Neeve, arrived to find her lying unconscious and badly injured.

She was taken to hospital along with Thomas and Tobias. Her younger son, Rocky, two, who was also in the car, was relatively physically unscathed.

Buckley said in a victim impact statement: “What I witnessed that day, that weekend, those hours of desperation, those minutes praying for a miracle or those seconds watching my partner take her last breaths, will stay with me for a lifetime.”

Frank Hough, Jules-Hough’s father, said his family had been devastated “all because a young man wanted to show off, wanted to show his friends on social media how daring and cool he thought he was”.

He added: “Our worlds have been torn apart and for what? So this boy could try to make himself feel like a big man.”

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