An Imam has been convicted of causing death by careless driving after he ran over and killed a man lying in the middle of the road.
Qari Hazarvi Abassi was on his way to lead early morning prayers at the Abubakr Mosque in Southall, West London when he struck Harvinder Singh on May 4, 2021.
Two passers-by saw Mr Singh lying in the middle of Lady Margaret Road and tried to divert vehicles around him.
They tried to warn Abassi but he ignored them, forcing them to jump out of the way before he drove over Mr Singh.
The Imam then drove off, hurling insults at the passers-by in Urdu, which translates to:
“Sister f****r, child of a pimp, your mother’s p***y of you sister f****r Gandoo [a sodomised person], sister f****r.”
The 72-year-old was arrested at his home at 5 am and told police he thought he ran over a bin bag.
At 4:11 am that morning, Mr Singh died from his injuries, which included fractured ribs, damage to his liver and abdominal haemorrhaging.
Mr Singh had been found lying in the road before saying he wanted to kill himself.
Abassi saw the two men warning him of the hazard but claimed he did not stop because he thought they were drunk.
The Imam was driving at 25mph in a 20mph zone when he hit Mr Singh.
Alexander Agbamu, prosecuting, said the two men were standing in the road, warning Abassi of the hazard ahead.
“Mr Abassi disregarded those warnings and did not slow his approach, causing the members of the public to jump out of the way to avoid being hit themselves.
“He drove over Mr Singh and continued to drive on without stopping.
“Mr Singh sustained devastating injury and was pronounced dead later that morning.”
Through an Urdu interpreter, Abassi said:
“While I was driving I saw two men standing on the road and they were showing some gestures towards me and I thought ‘Why are they doing these gestures with their hands towards me? Either they want a lift or they are drunk’.
“There was something lying on the road which I thought was a bin or briefcase or something, and these men with their gestures.
“So I was thinking ‘Why are they doing this to me for being a human being, so I made some comments which were sweary’.”
“It was never in my mind that some human being or person was there.
“When people ask you to stop and you don’t know those people, you don’t stop for that reason.”
The prosecutor asked: “Do you think you did anything wrong?”
Abassi replied: “No.”
At the Old Bailey, he was convicted of causing death by careless driving.
Abassi was granted bail ahead of sentencing on a date to be scheduled.
Judge Rebecca Poulet, KC, ordered a pre-sentence report to find out how Abassi’s age would affect him in prison.