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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Holly Evans

Speeding BMW driver jailed for killing pregnant Hollyoaks star in horror crash


A man who filmed himself speeding at 123mph as he weaved between traffic has been jailed for 12 years after killing a pregnant mother-of-two in a horrific road smash.

Former Hollyoaks actress Frankie Jules-Hough was 17 weeks pregnant when she pulled over on the hard shoulder of the M66 in Bury with a tyre puncture.

The 38-year-old, who had her two sons and nephew in the car, was on the phone when she was heard letting out a “blood-curdling scream” on 13 May this year.

Adil Iqbal, 22, had been driving with one hand and holding his phone with the other to film himself as he tailgated and swerved across lanes in his father’s BMW car.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard that Iqbal undertook a motorbike and swerved, before hitting a crash barrier and ploughing into Ms Jules-Hough’s Skoda Fabia at an estimated 92mph.

Ms Jules-Hough, along with her unborn first daughter Neeve, suffered unsurvivable brain injuries in the crash. Her daughter died with her when she passed away two days later in hospital surrounded by her family, having never regained consciousness.

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

Ms Jules-Hough, who had appeared as Jess Holt in the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks from 2000 to 2001, was on the phone to Thomas’ father who, along with other family, dashed to the scene of the mangled car wreck.

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

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

Passing sentence, 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.”

Earlier, the court was told Iqbal was convicted of driving without insurance in 2019 and in December 2021 posted a video to Facebook after filming himself speeding in a Lamborghini Huracan in Dubai. Two months before the deadly crash, he was given a warning by police after being stopped while racing an Audi car on public roads.

Motorist Johnathan Hoyle, who saw Iqbal six minutes before the crash, thought he was “an accident waiting to happen”, the court was told.

Iqbal caused another driver, Sophie Dodswell, to “scream out” as he came within inches of her car at about 120mph.

Rob Hall, prosecuting, said Iqbal was filming himself at the time, adding: “It may have been his intention to upload this video to Facebook as well.

“In the seconds before the collision, the dash of the BMW shows approximate speeds of 107mph, up to 123mph, which shows more than once.”

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

Seconds before, Tom Spencer, Thomas’s father, took the call from her to say she would be late.

He told the court in a statement: “’Hi, Tom’, I heard Frankie say before she let out the most blood-curdling scream. Next the impact and then silence.

“After a few moments, I could hear people trying to help. I heard a man say, ‘We’re not supposed to move bodies.”

Mr Spencer, who drove to the scene, added: “Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.”

His son was “limp and lifeless” and he told him: “Daddy is here, mate. Please come back to me.”

Ms 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 youngest son, Rocky, two, who was also in the car, was relatively unscathed.

Mr 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, Ms Jules-Hough’s father, said his family has 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.

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

Iqbal was also banned from driving for 14 years.

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