THE DRIVER of a car involved in a horrifying crash that killed four young men was “intoxicated” with alcohol and drugs, a pre-inquest review heard.

Murtza Chaudhry, 21, and passengers Arbaaz Hussain, 21, Zeeshan Khalid, 20 and Tayyab Siddique, 22, all died when their car hit a tree on Toller Lane in the early hours of August 2, 2018.

A grey BMW was being driven by Mr Chaudhry “at speed” and crashed following a 34-second pursuit with police, a previous hearing has been told.

Officers were concerned about the manner in which the BMW, which failed to stop for police, was being driven on Stony Lane.

An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into the crash concluded in April 2019.

The final report is not due to be made public until the inquests of the four men are concluded, but a junior barrister representing West Yorkshire Police, revealed at a the review on Monday that Mr Chaudhry was under the influence of alcohol and drugs when driving.

The remote inquest at Bradford Coroners Court heard Matthew Holdcroft mention the IOPC review, when discussing whether Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) was engaged in this case.

He stated that the officers involved in the chase - the driver, passenger and the commander who authorised it - “acted entirely in accordance with training”, which is required nationally, and that the vehicle provided was roadworthy.

He said they were not “culpable of misconduct” and that there was no evidential basis to suggest they put those who “tragically died” at immediate risk.

Mr Holdcroft added: “Regrettably, the driver was driving at speed, at night, with no headlights and was intoxicated both with alcohol and drugs.”

He outlined it was a tragic accident and that the officers were “simply performing their duties”.

Senior Coroner MD Fleming led the pre-inquest review, which was attended by the father and mother of Zeeshan Khalid and the sisters of Tayyab Siddique.

Both sets of family members confirmed they had seen the IOPC report.

The two main issues raised at the pre-inquest review were whether Article 2 of the ECHR was engaged and if a jury was needed for the inquest. 

The Crown Prosecution Service website states that Article 2 inquests are enhanced inquests held in cases where the State or ‘its agents’ have ‘failed to protect the deceased against a human threat or other risk’ or where there has been a death in custody. 

This can include when the State or its agents are implicated - such as in a police chase.

An Article 2 inquest generally has a much wider scope for what is discussed during the process and the Coroner’s conclusion tends to be more detailed.

Mr Holdcroft recommended that Article 2 was not engaged.

Mr Fleming concluded that it was not “arguably engaged” at this time, but that it would remain under review.

He said: “The inquest will be limited to statutory questions.”

He added that this included who the deceased are, when and where they died, and how they came about their “very sad” deaths.

Mr Holdcroft also recommended that the inquest was carried out without a jury.

But he said the views of the family are important and would not “seek to minimise that”.

Both sets of family members told the Coroner they were open for both possibilities and happy with whatever decision he made.

Mr Fleming concluded that the inquest would go ahead without a jury.

He finished the review by thanking the family members for assisting and officially adjourned the inquest until a provisional date of September 13.

It is expected to last four to five days.