A motorist accused of texting at the wheel shortly before he ploughed into two young women told police he was looking ahead at the road and did not see them, a court heard.

Mohmed Salman Patel, 26, said he initially thought his vehicle had been hit by a brick after his windscreen was smashed in the fatal collision in Preston, Lancashire.

But the prosecution in his trial at Preston Crown Court said Shelby Maher, 17, and Rachel Murphy, 23, were "clearly visible" as they crossed the A59 Brockholes Brow and the defendant was more interested in his mobile phone.

Miss Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision with the defendant's BMW 3 Series in the early evening of April 20 2016, while Miss Maher died several hours later in hospital.

Another teenage girl in the group of five friends crossing the road was seriously injured and was in hospital for a week.

When later interviewed about the incident, Patel, from Blackburn, Lancashire, told officers: "As I have come up the A59 I have not seen any pedestrians whatsoever.

"I hear a loud bang, my windscreen smashes, I pull over and that is when I see people in the road.

"I have not slammed on or anything because I didn't know what I hit ... I thought it might have been a brick on my windscreen."

Asked what he was doing when he heard the bang, he replied: "I was driving normally. Looking straight at the road."

Patel, who was taking his mother and sister on a shopping trip, said he was wearing shades because it was a bright sunny day but his vision was not affected.

Jurors have heard from other motorists travelling in the same direction at the same time that they saw the group of youngsters in the road who were said to be "dawdling".

An examination of Patel's iPhone 6 revealed he sent two text messages to his girlfriend at 6.12pm on April 20 asking her whereabouts.

At 6.37pm she replied "yeah at mate's" to which he swiftly responded: "Her house?"

Within 42 seconds of sending that message he had killed Miss Maher and Miss Murphy, and next used his mobile to ring the emergency services, the court has heard.

Patel told police that final message was sent "well before" the point of collision while stationary at a set of traffic lights when, he said, it was "safe to do so".

Opening his case, prosecutor Francis McEntree said it was understood from his defence statement that Patel was now saying the message was sent at a different set of lights nearer the crash scene.

He said: "We say he has literally moved the position in the realisation that his story does not stack up."

Patel, of Carham Road, Blackburn, denies two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.