Shipley driver admits killing dad-of-seven crossing road in Manningham

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Norman Cowan Norman Cowan

A motorist has admitted causing the death of a Bradford father-of-seven almost a year ago.

Yasser Mughal, of Aireville Avenue, Shipley, had been due to stand trial at Bradford Crown Court yesterday.

But, after his barrister sought an indication from the judge about the maximum sentence he would face, the 31-year-old entered a guilty plea to causing Norman Cowen’s death by careless driving.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall gave an indication that Mughal could face a maximum sentence of about six or seven months in jail for the offence, but he then adjourned the case until February 14 so that a pre-sentence report could be prepared.

The court heard that the sentencing guidelines for “a middle category” offence suggested a starting point sentence of 36 weeks after a trial with a range of sentence between a high community order up to two years.

The court heard that Mughal’s car was travelling at about 37mph in a 30mph zone on January 16, 2013, when it collided with the 50-year-old plasterer as he crossed Manningham Lane.

Mr Cowen, who had been due to marry his 41-year-old girlfriend Mandy five months later in June, suffered a serious head injury in the collision and died in hospital a few days later.

Prosecutor Richard Walters confirmed that Mr Cowen had been crossing the road with the red man showing, but he said the deceased had been carrying a white bag at the time.

Mr Walters suggested that Mughal’s decision to change lanes may have been more important than speed in causing the fatal collision.

During discussions about the sentencing guidelines in such cases, Judge Durham Hall referred to the difficulties caused for professional judges because they involved “the most human and distressing of situations”.

Members of Mr Cowan’s family were sitting in the public gallery as Mughal’s barrister Andrew Dallas applied for the case to be adjourned until next month so that a probation officer could consider the personal circumstances of his client.

“He also could use that time, if allowed, to assemble what would be a body of helpful evidence from other people who wish to speak about him,” added Mr Dallas.

Judge Durham Hall said he would also be very keen to receive and read any victim impact material from Mr Cowan’s family and he stressed that the sentence hearing would be his first case on February 14.

Mughal, who was granted bail, will also face a driving ban next month, but Judge Durham Hall decided not to impose an interim ban after Mr Dallas indicated that his client had a lot of affairs to put in order before his next court appearance.

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