A BUSINESSMAN whose BMW knocked down and killed a teenager in Huddersfield has been jailed for five months after he lied to police about the accident.
Aftab Iqbal had just answered a call on his mobile when his car collided with 14-year-old Luke Hudson as he ran across Leeds Road, Bradley.
The youngster was fatally injured in the collision in February, but when Iqbal was questioned at the scene he claimed he'd had a passenger in the car and that man had left in a distressed state.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that officers were unable to find the "passenger" in the area, but nine days later a long-time friend of Iqbal, 24-year-old Nasar Yasin, gave the police a statement in which he claimed to have been in the car using the mobile phone at the time.
The court heard an inquest into Luke's death earlier this month had concluded that it was in fact a tragic accident and prosecutor Ben Crosland stressed that Iqbal had not been charged in relation to the boy's death.
His barrister Mark Fletton pointed out that the coroner had taken the view that the use of the mobile phone was "foolish", but had not contributed to the unfortunate death of the youngster.
Mr Crosland described how both men maintained their accounts during police interviews in August, but eventually they asked to speak to officers again and Iqbal finally admitted that he had been holding the phone at the time of the accident.
Iqbal, 30, of Toller Lane, Bradford, and Yasin, of Grandage Terrace, Manningham, both admitted perverting the course of justice.
Iqbal, who runs a butchery business employing 15 people, was jailed for five months.
Yasin, who like his co-accused had no previous convictions, was locked up for two months.
Barrister Ken Green, for Yasin, said his client had acted out of misguided loyalty to his friend.
Mr Fletton said Iqbal had received the call on his mobile literally seconds before the impact and his client was in a state of distress and panic after the collision.
"He accepts that when the police came and spoke to him he gave them information which clearly was not right," conceded Mr Fletton.
"He then proceeded to try and buttress that account by later producing the co-accused to try and support it."
Mr Fletton said Iqbal now had to live with the fact that he had taken the life of a 14-year-old boy and he was extremely ashamed that he had lied to the police.
Mr Green said his client's conscience had got the better of him when he realised the seriousness of what he had done.
"Your honour knows that the inquest, somewhat ironically, confirmed that this tragically was an accident that couldn't have been avoided by Yasin's co-accused," he pointed out.
"So really this whole charade should never have happened in the first place."
Barristers for both men urged Judge Macgill to consider suspending any prison sentences, but he concluded that the offence was so serious that only custody could be justified.
He said Iqbal had invented a fictitious passenger no doubt realising the potential significance of the use of the mobile phone and had taken the matter further by persuading Yasin to make an entirely false claim that he had been in the car using the phone.
Judge Macgill pointed out that the duo had only come clean after vigorous questioning by the police.
"You decided to lie and to sustain that lie for a long period of time," he told Iqbal.
"The irony is had you told the truth to the police in the first place the charges would have been no worse against you."
Iqbal still faces the magistrates court over careless driving and holding a mobile phone while driving.