A woman who drove her vehicle into a group of worshippers at Eid celebrations in Newcastle has today (Monday) been jailed.
Marianne Kabah, 42, was with family and friends at the Westgate Road Sports College for Eid celebrations on June 25 last year.
As the event – which celebrated the end of Ramadan – came to an end she got into her Nissan Juke and drove towards the exit.
However, she changed course to stop and speak to friends. It was then that she failed to stop and drove through the crowded grassed area as worshippers were heading home.
She collided with seven people – seriously injuring two people including 7-year-old Zaryab Rajib – before eventually coming to a stop.
The incident came a day after a terror incident in London where a car had driven into a group of people outside a mosque in Finsbury Park.
It initially sparked concerns that the collision in the west end could be terror-related, however, police were quick to rule that out.
Kabah, of Meadow Lane, Gateshead, was eventually charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
And today (Monday) she has been jailed for 16 months by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court and handed a two-year driving ban.
Following the case, senior investigating officer Sergeant Jason Ryder said that it was “extremely lucky” that nobody was killed in the incident.
He said: “There has never been anything to suggest that Marianne Kabah intentionally drove into those people at the celebrations last year.
“However, our investigation did find that she drove in a dangerous manner which led to a number of people being seriously injured, some with life changing injuries.
“It is extremely lucky that nobody was killed as a result of her actions but the lives of some of her victims and their families will never be the same again.
“I would like to thank the community for their support on the day of the collision specifically those who assisted the emergency services.”
Zaryab Rajib, who is now eight-years-old, suffered serious head injuries in the collision which have left him with life-changing injuries.
Following today’s sentencing, his family issued a statement in which they said the case had “caused a great deal of upset, stress and difficulty”.
They said: “We are relieved that Mrs Kabah has admitted that she was guilty of causing serious injury to Zaryab as a result of her dangerous driving.
“We feel that it is right that she has accepted the consequences of her actions and we are satisfied with the sentence she has received from the court today.
“Zaryab was an exceptionally bright, happy and independent young boy who loved to play football. He suffered serious head and orthopaedic injuries in the accident which will alter the course of his life.
“He is slowly returning to his pre accident life but has a long way to go before he is able to enjoy many of the activities he did before the accident.
“This event has caused a great deal of upset, stress and difficulty for our whole family. We have faced many challenges and are grateful for the support we have received from family, friends and the wider community.”
Warren Maxwell, who is from Stewarts Solicitors and represented Zaryab and his family, said that the family were extremely thankful to the efforts of the emergency services.