Jun 21 2012 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
A DRIVER has been handed a five-year jail sentence for killing a popular Kingsbury teenager in a high-speed crash.
Dharsen Panchali, a 19-year-old student, was behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Golf when he lost control on a bend, glanced off a number of parked cars and smashed head-on into a Renault Megane, finally colliding with a tree.
Zeeshan Tahir, 18, of Springfield Mount, Kingsbury, was a rear seat passenger and suffered a fatal head injury. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver and two other passengers were uninjured.
Mr Tahir’s mother Shabana Mohammed, 39, said after the sentencing of Panchali at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday, June 15: “I’m really happy with the sentence, although I was so upset he didn’t plead guilty. He had no remorse and I wanted him to admit he made a mistake.
“He was so reckless because he drove like a joyrider. I don’t think he even knew my son’s name.”
Ms Mohammed added: “Zeeshan was just a very good student and he wanted to do mechanical engineering at the University of Hertfordshire.
“He left behind three sisters, one older and two younger. The youngest one says the sentence is not enough.”
Panchali had been driving back from Hendon School, in Hendon, where Mr Tahir was a sixth former, on March 16 last year when the collision occurred at 2.40pm in Colindeep Lane, Colindale.
Hendon School subsequently named its new sixth form centre in memory of Mr Tahir and installed a memorial bench and plaque, which was paid for with student donations.
The Year 13s also dedicated their end of year prom to their former classmate.
Panchali denied causing death by dangerous driving but was convicted by a unanimous jury at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday, April 13.
He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, and disqualified from driving for six years.
Detective Sergeant Stephen Pidgeon, of the Metropolitan Police’s Road Death Investigation Unit, said: “No sentence for this appalling driving that resulted in the death of an extremely popular young man will ever lessen the grief of Zeeshan’s family.
“I just hope the outcome of the hugely excessive speed involved, 60 to 65mph in a 30mph limit at the point Panchali lost control, will serve as a warning to others and prevent another tragic and easily avoidable loss of life.”
The sentencing hearing heard that on the same day of Panchali’s first appearance at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on September 13, 2011, he had been stopped by police in Hendon Broadway, Hendon, driving at 68mph in a 30mph zone.
Panchali, of Salcombe Gardens, Mill Hill, admitted speeding at West London Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, March 28 and was temporarily banned from driving.