Woman killed by Libyan asylum seeker working illegally in the UK

Therapist, 53, died when she was hit in road by Libyan immigrant working illegally in UK as fast food delivery driver who thought he had hit a bump and continued on way to work

  •  Rezar Abukhrais, 35, was working illegally as a fast food delivery driver 
  • Donna Barrow-Jones, 53, fell down and struggled to get back onto her feet
  • Abukhrais said he did not see Ms Barrow-Jones who was on her hands and knees
  • He got a five-year driving band and ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work 

A therapist was run over and left to die by a hit-and-run driver who mistakenly believed he had hit a bump in the road.

Donna Barrow-Jones, 53, had tripped and fallen whilst crossing the road but Rezar Abukhrais who did not have a driving licence or car insurance failed to spot her.

Instead the Libyan immigrant, 35, who was working illegally in the UK as a fast food delivery driver ran over Mrs Barrow-Jones without braking – then carried on driving to work.

Donna Barrow-Jones, suffered multiple injuries and died after being struck by a car near a pedestrian crossing outside the Royal Albert Infirmary in Wigan, Greater Manchester

Mrs Barrow-Jones who counsels patients suffering from stress related issues and depression suffered multiple injuries in the impact and died at the scene near a pedestrian crossing outside Royal Albert Infirmary in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

Tests showed she had been drinking heavily in the run up to the tragedy and stumbled over as she and her husband Howard were walking home.

She was said to be crawling on her hands and knees for up to 19 seconds to get to the side of the road when she was hit by the vehicle. It is thought her husband did not see the impact as he had been walking ahead of her and did not realise she had fallen.

Inquiries revealed Abukhrais, from Bolton who was illegally using his brother’s Hyundai i40 did not realise he had hit the victim despite having up to 200 metres of road ahead of him and despite him driving at just 24mph.

Ms Barrow-Jones was out with her husband Howard, pictured, when she tripped over and struggled to get back onto her feet

Ms Barrow-Jones was out with her husband Howard, pictured, when she tripped over and struggled to get back onto her feet

CCTV later captured him turning into a side street before he checked the front of the car for damage and removing bags before walking into a fast food outlet. When he was arrested he claimed he had he assumed he had hit a ‘road defect.’

At Bolton Crown Court the father of four who graduated in law in his native Libya faced jail after he admitted causing death by careless driving. He was handed an eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years after prosecutors accepted his explanation.

The tragedy occurred at 8.45pm on November 23 last year after Mr and Mrs Barrow-Jones had been visiting his daughter.

The court heard Ms Barrow-Jones fell over on the road before being struck by the car. 

Her husband, Mr Barrow said he did not see the moment of impact.  

Prosecutors claimed Ms Barrow-Jones started crossing the road when Abukhrais was 205 metres away.  

Tests showed Ms Barrow-Jones had been drinking heavily on the night of her death

Tests showed Ms Barrow-Jones had been drinking heavily on the night of her death

Investigators claimed Abukhrais should have seen Ms Barrow-Jones at around 80metres away. 

If he had applied the brakes, he would have stopped within 32 metres – some 48 metres from impact.

Abukhrais who moved to the UK in 2014 was held 48 hours after the crash and told police: ‘I was driving the car but there was no accident.’ He had an international driving licence from Libya but he failed to apply for a UK driving licence claiming his English ‘wasn’t good enough.’

In a statement Miss Barrow-Jones’ elderly father Allan Jones said: ‘When police knocked on our door to tell us the news our whole tranquil world changed.

‘We daily feel the pain of Donna no longer being with us. My daughter Lorna says our lives will never be the same again. To learn that this person drove off and to further learn this person had no driving licence makes our grief that much worse.

‘Donna was the kind of person who would help anyone,. She was beautiful inside and out and she had everything to live for. It deeply hurts that we will never be able to see or speak to her ever again. We are devastated – the autumn of our lives has been totally destroyed.’

The court heard Abukhrais who also had a Masters business degree from a university in Belgrade, Serbia had been driving for 16 years without causing any previous accidents.

His legal team claimed Abukhrais was ‘genuinely and profoundly remorseful’. 

Lawyer Brenda Campbell told the court: ‘He was surprised to be arrested and surprised to hear that he had killed someone but he has always been prepared to accept responsibility. He was driving at a moderate speed but he simply didn’t see her. Had he seen her he absolutely would have stopped.’

Abukhrais also admitted having no licence or insurance and he was also ordered to complete 120 hours work. He was banned from driving for five years. Further charges against him of failing to stop and report an accident were withdrawn.

Sentencing Judge Timothy Stead said: ‘The defendant asserts he did not see a human figure at all not even at that last possible moment. He thought he had hit some defect in the road and I have to deal with the case on this basis.

‘He simply did not appreciate he had hit a person or indeed any piece of movable property at the time although he ought to have been aware. It was not a momentary lapse of attention. It is apparent to anyone that this was a tragedy for Donna Barrow-Jones and her family. She had taken alcohol and was not acting unlawfully – however it is a fact in this case.’ 

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