Taxi driver jailed for causing the death of Hitchin motoryclist in A1(M) crash

Firefighter and Olympian Rob Pope

Firefighter and Olympian Rob Pope - Credit: Archant

A taxi driver was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail today for causing the death of a firefighter who was a former member of Great Britain’s Olympic bobsleigh team.

Mohamoud Amin stopped his Ford Galaxy in the fast lane of the A1(M) at Hatfield causing Rob Pope from Hitchin to crash his blue Yamaha sports motorbike into the back of the people carrier at 60mph.

Mr Pope, who had represented the British Olympic bobsleigh team at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games, was travelling to work as a firefighter in London. The 44-year-old died at the scene of the crash in March 2013, which saw debris fly onto the motorway.

Amin had stopped on the southbound fast lane near the Hatfield tunnel after what he thought to be a stone smashed the front passenger window of his taxi. He claimed he was in a state of shock, before turning his hazard lights on, and waited for the police.

Judge Stephen Gullick told Amin at St Albans Crown Court today: “Your action in stopping where you did inevitably placed other road users at considerable risk. Vehicles would have been driving towards you at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. You created a significant hazard for oncoming traffic. Stopping where you did amounted to a seriously dangerous manoeuvre.”

Amin, of Huxley Gardens in London, had previously been convicted by a jury after pleading not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving on March 22, 2013.

The 38-year-old, who worked a private hire driver, came to the UK in 2000 from Somalia and was given citizenship in 2005. A year later he obtained a British driving licence. The court heard the father-of-four say when his front passenger window smashed it sounded like a ‘big explosion’.

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Defence barrister Ross Cohen said: “That day was the worst day of his life. He has wanted to speak to Mrs Pope to express his profound apology and sorrow for what happened on that fateful morning.”

Judge Gullick told the court Mr Pope’s family had experienced a tragedy they would never recover.

Amin, who had no previous convictions or points on his licence, was also banned from driving for four years and must undergo a retest before having his licence returned.

Mr Pope’s wife Nicky said at the time of the accident: “Rob was a wonderful husband and father to our six-year-old son.

“We shared many happy years together, including going across the West of America on a Harley Davidson motorcycle which we thoroughly enjoyed.

“Rob was a joker and always saw the amusing side to life. He doted on our little boy and we will never forget him. He will always be in our hearts.”

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