AN inquest has heard there is evidence that two men who died in a horror crash in Brighouse town centre were dealing nitrous oxide canisters. 

The hearing into the deaths of Mohammed Sohail Aziz, 23, and Suhail Ahmad Akhtar, 20, is being held at Bradford Coroners' Court today.

Both were both killed when the red BMW they were travelling in crashed into a road barrier in Bradford Road, Brighouse, in 2020.

The crash which claimed the lives of the Dewsbury pair happened a short time after police had begun a pursuit of the vehicle in the early hours of July 17, and the men were pronounced dead at the scene, Mr Aziz, who was driving, at 1.40am and Mr Akhtar at 1.55am.

The inquest heard the average speed of the BMW prior to the crash was in excess of 80mph.

PC Mark Turner, who works in the Major Collision Enquiry Team, said nitrous oxide canisters had been discovered at the scene and evidence from mobile phones showed there was some dealing going on. 

After a question from a family member asking for clarification on 'dealing', PC Turner said mobile evidence showed the two gentleman were "engaged in the sale of nitrous oxide canisters". 

An amount of cash - £1,500 - was also found, though Mr Aziz's family said this was not due to dealing, but was from a family member. 

The inquest heard neither men had been wearing seatbelts. Toxicology tests for Mr Akhtar showed he had 77 milligrammes of alcohol in his system, while Mr Aziz had 110 milligrammes. The legal limit for driving is is 80 milligrammes.

PC Turner told the inquest that prior to the crash, two calls had been received from the members of public in relation to vehicles engaged in anti-social behaviour in the Huddersfield area, one being a red BMW.

Police attended in order to conduct an area search. The cars were not seen or detected, but a short time later the police unit found itself behind a red BMW.

The vehicle's registration did not match the vehicle recorded on the ASB report, but due to the manner of driving and the fact the vehicle had a registration which did not conform to current standards, officers intended to stop it, speak to the occupants and find out why they were in the area at the time of night.

Before they had the opportunity, the car made off at speed and was initially on the wrong side of the road.

The car travelled from Huddersfield into Brighouse town centre. During this time, officers acted in line with policies, PC Turner said.

The vehicle made its way into Brighouse town centre at speed, failing to comply with speed limits, before leaving the road and colliding with the wall. 

The inquest heard environmental factors, like the weather, had been eliminated as contributing to the crash and there were no vehicle defects.

On the medical cause of death for both men, Mr Oliver determined they died as a result of multiple injuries due to a road traffic collision.

Mr Akhtar and Mr Aziz were passenger and driver respectively of a vehicle involved in a high-speed traffic collision on July 17, 2020. 

The car was travelling in excess of 80mph on Bradford Road when it failed negotiate a sharp right-hand bend at the junction of Hangram Street.

Mr Oliver said the vehicle was being pursued by police and the pursuit was appropriate and did not play a direct role in the collision.

He highlighted the loss of the control of the vehicle while at excessive speed, failure to stop for police, failure to wear seatbelts and impairment of judgment as direct causes.

After recording his conclusion, Mr Oliver said: "I appreciate it has been a terrible experience for both Suhail and Mohammed's families.

"I understand it has been very difficult for the professionals involved and I can sense that there's been a lot of stress on that side.

"I'm very aware at the core of this, is a death of two much-loved young men whose families clearly miss them bitterly and both families have my condolences.

"I hope both of sets of relatives get lives back together and move on to some extent.

"I thank you all very much for your co-operation. This process is necessary, it is part of the law in this country, we have to do it."

He also thanked the police officers who investigated the case and said: "There has been a wealth of work gone into the investigation which has greatly assisted me in the conduct of the inquest."

Miranda Biddle, regional director of the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which launched an investigation after the crash, said: “This was a tragic incident in which two young men lost their lives and our thoughts remain with their families, friends and all those affected.
“Our investigation was independent of the police and aimed to understand events leading up to the collision. We found the officers acted appropriately and, after the collision which followed a short pursuit, did all they could to help the young men in extremely challenging circumstances.

“The evidence we gathered was provided to the coroner to assist with the inquest proceedings, which we hope has helped answer some of the families’ questions about that day.”