RELATIVES of an innocent woman killed by two young drivers drivers racing on a Bradford road have spoken of their determination to see the law toughened after 14 months of anguish before a trial jury returned a guilty verdict.
Mary Byrne, 51, had been in a minicab which was turning into the driveway of her home in Mandale Road, Horton Bank Top, when it was hit by a speeding BMW with an impact so great she was thrown from the vehicle and killed.
The BMW had been driven by Joseph Robinson, 22, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving after initially denying the charge.
Thomas Healey, 21, who had been racing him in a powerful Ford Focus, was found guilty of the same charge yesterday following the trial at Bradford Crown Court.
Healey, of Brow Lane, Clayton, had momentarily stopped after the crash in April last year but then drove off, the court was told.
It took the jury of six men and six women only one hour to reach its unanimous verdict yesterday afternoon.
Healey gave no reaction in the dock while cheers came from members of Mrs Byrne's family sat in the public gallery.
He has been bailed until his sentencing date is fixed and was immediately disqualified from driving.
Robinson, 22, of Westminster Gardens, Clayton, will appear alongside him before the court today where the date for the sentencing hearing will be set.
After Healey was found guilty, Judge John Potter told him: "You can expect a significant custodial sentence and you have to be prepared for that."
Outside the court, Mrs Byrne's family spoke of their ordeal in the 14 months since her death, including the delay in being able to organise a funeral because a defence lawyer failed to clarify whether an independent post-mortem examination was needed.
That mean her body had to be kept by the coroner instead of being held by a funeral director as they would have preferred: "We were left ringing up every day, asking if we could have mum's funeral," the Byrne family told the Telegraph & Argus.
In the months before the trial, they have been raising money for the road safety charity Brake and now hope to work with that organisation to help others who suffer as a result of dangerous driving, but also to press for a review of motoring legislation.
The family said: "They drove for 2.1 miles before the crash, that was a big game of Russian roulette they played with a lot of people's lives that day. It happened on a Saturday afternoon."
Mrs Byrne's parents have faced the heartache of seeing the case go to trial and her four children have felt unable to grieve properly until the case was complete.
Her grandchildren have also lost their Nanna, they said.
"Lads of this age should not be able to drive high powered cars like those. It was only going to be a matter of time before they killed someone. All the witnesses said that," the family said.
"They (the defendants) have been in the community, living their lives every day while we have been grieving for mum and not being able to grieve for her properly because of knowing the only people suffering over this were us."