A GRAYSWOOD man has been sentenced to a two-year community order and disqualified from driving for his involvement in a head-on collision on the A286 near the village, which claimed the life of popular motoring journalist Henry Hope-Frost.
Tahir Mehmood, 47, pleaded guilty at Guildford Crown Court last Wednesday to the offence of causing the death of Mr Hope-Frost on March 8, 2018, by driving his vehicle without due care and attention.
He received a two-year community punishment order of 200 hours unpaid work and a 60 day night time curfew. He was fined £670 in costs and an £85 victim surcharge. He was also banned from driving for 18 months with an extended re-test.
Hope-Frost, the 47-year-old Formula One presenter and father of three, died when Mehmood’s Toyota Prius – which he bought just the day before – ploughed into Mr Hope-Frost’s Honda motorbike as he was riding it north between Grayswood and Brook.
In a victim impact statement, the television star’s wife Charlotte said: “Life can never be the same again. He was a big, cuddly bear of a man.
“When the boys talk about Henry we always try to remember what an amazing man he was.”
Religious centre worker Mehmood crossed over on to the opposite side of the A286. Mr Hope-Frost was thrown off his bike and 18 metres along the 50mph speed limit road.
He was semi-conscious and spoke briefly to a motorist who stopped to help. But he was pronounced dead at the roadside just before 5pm – half an hour after the crash.
Mr Morrison told Guildford Crown court: “The deceased was riding his motorbike on the way home having worked at Goodwood.
“Travelling in the opposite direction was the defendant driving a Toyota Prius. He had his teenage daughter as a rear passenger.
“It seems that Mr Mehmood failed to negotiate a bend, he went straight forward. The two vehicles collided. The front of the motorcycle collided with the front near side of Mr Mehmood’s Toyota. As a result Mr Hope-Frost was declared deceased at the scene at 4.57pm. He died before being transferred anywhere.
“The driving conditions were quite good, the road was dry, it was not raining. The brightness was good.
“The defendant was arrested and gave an explanation that he saw the motorcycle on the bend.
“He said he was going 46 or 47mph, under 50mph. He said it came towards him and the motorcycle was coming in the middle part of the road. In short the defendant denied the offence.”
Mehmood, also 47 and a father of three, entered a guilty plea at last week’s hearing.
The court heard he had lived in the UK for six years and he came from Pakistan.
Alex Stein, defending, said: “Mr Mehmood is a man of good character. He works at a religious centre.
“He purchased the car the day before the accident. Perhaps that may have played a small part in what happened here.
“He did not set out that day to cause harm to anyone.” Judge Peter Moss said: “He (Mr Hope-Frost) has no chance of avoiding you.
“Quite why your vehicle crossed that central white line is a mystery.”
Speaking after the hearing, Sergeant Eddie Ryan, of the serious collision investigation unit, said: “This sad story makes it clear that you should always pay attention when driving. Our thoughts continue to be with Henry’s family as they continue to grieve.”
Paying tribute last year former F1 champion Jenson Button said: “So sad such a great man lost his life in a road accident.”