The driver who caused a crash on the M66 that killed a pregnant mum-of-two from Oldham was filming on his phone and reached speeds of more than 100mph moments before impact, a court has heard.

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 13, Adil Iqbal sped onto the M66 in his BMW and began weaving in out of traffic while filming his driving on his mobile phone.

The 22-year-old undertook a motorbike before overtaking a car in the slow lane.

Not expecting the BMW to approach from high speed from behind the car in the slow lane moved to another lane which led to Iqbal dropping his phone and losing control.

Iqbal crashed into the motorway barriers and a Skoda that had pulled into the hard shoulder.

In the Skoda was Frankie Hough, 38, from Chadderton, who was 17 weeks pregnant, with her two sons, Tommy and Rocky, and her nephew, Tobias.

Asian Image: Tobias, Rocky, Frankie and Tommy

The family was taken to hospital. Tommy and Tobias suffered serious injuries and were put in an induced coma. Around 36 hours later Frankie died surrounded by her family.

Today (Wednesday) Iqbal, of Hope Street, Accrington was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 14 years at Manchester Minshull Steet Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury.

The court heard that at the time of the crash, Frankie had pulled over after her Skoda suffered a puncture and was on the phone to Tommy’s father, Tom Spencer, to let him know she was running late.

In his victim impact statement that was read to the court, Mr Spencer recollected the phone call.

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He said that he heard Frankie say, “Hi Tom” before she let out a “blood-curdling scream”.

He then heard the impact and silence after what he said “felt like an eternity” he then heard Rocky crying.

The court also heard victim impact statements from other members of Frankie’s family including her father, Frank Hough who read his to the court through tears.

He described his eldest daughter as his “hero” and said: “My girl has been needlessly and thoughtlessly ripped away from me.”

He added that he had held her hand when she was born, “a number of times” during her life, and when she died, saying that he will never be able to experience holding her hand again.

Frankie’s mother, Julia Vasconcellos, said in her statement which was read to the court, that Frankie was the “most beautiful daughter that anyone could wish for”, a “talented artist, actress and musician” and a “beautiful mummy to Tommy and Rocky”.

In migration, defence barrister Balbir Singh said Iqbal had expressed “deep regret and remorse for driving in the manner that he did” and that he recognised that no length of prison sentence would reflect "the pain and anguish" caused.


Judge Maurice Greene acknowledged the points in mitigation.

Passing sentence, he told Iqbal: “She (Frankie) was killed as a result of the most indescribable reckless driving by you Adil Iqbal, leading to the devastation of a family.”

In a statement following the sentencing, Rose Gibson-Harper, catastrophic injury partner at law firm Lime Solicitors, who is representing Toby and Frankie’s mother Julia, said: “Today’s 12-year sentence is insulting and an injustice to the catastrophic injuries little Tobias sustained, and the life sentence Mrs Hough’s family were needlessly handed following her and her unborn daughter’s death due to an act of sheer stupidity.

“Last year, judges were given the power to hand down greater sentences to those convicted of death by dangerous driving – previously, the maximum tariff was 14 years but it was increased to life imprisonment.

“This case stands as one of the worst examples of dangerous driving I have witnessed in my 27-year career as a catastrophic injury lawyer, and we expected the justice system to fulfil its duty and utilise its new-found powers."

Detective Constable Richie Hughes of GMP’s Road Policing Unit, said: “My thoughts are of course with Frankie’s family and her children who were also involved in the collision. I truly hope that the sentencing of Adil Iqbal who is a dangerous and reckless individual – brings her family and loved ones some form of closure.

“Iqbal’s actions that day were nothing short of appalling. He knowingly and willingly chose to drive his car at those speeds with little regard for other drivers on the motorway at the time." 

Nicola Wells, senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: “Iqbal showed a complete disregard for the safety of other road users and his driving had tragic consequences.

“The CPS worked with Greater Manchester Police to build a strong case which included eye-witness testimony, various pieces of footage showing the standard of driving and the forensic collision report. The strength of the evidence was such that Iqbal had no option but to accept his guilt.

“The devastating consequences for the family cannot be overstated. I can only hope that knowing Iqbal has been brought to justice will be some comfort at this difficult time. My thoughts remain with them.”