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Covid scientist jailed for two years over road death of talented artist

A Covid scientist has been jailed for two years for knocking down and killing a talented artist while speeding in the City of London.

Ibnu Rizwan, 29, was driving at some 30mph on the 20mph Minories road when he hit David Joseph Evans, 32, early on August 8 2021.

Earlier that evening, Rizwan, an epidemiologist specialising in Covid and monkeypox data, had been doing boxing training.

He met up with friends in Tooting, south London, shared a bottle of Jack Daniels and Pepsi and tried unsuccessfully to get into a club.

Rizwan then hired a Zip car to drive five other friends to a club in Shoreditch, the Old Bailey was told.

Meanwhile, Mr Evans, who was known as Joseph, had been watching rugby at the Spit and Sawdust pub in Bermondsey with a friend.

He was making his way towards Tower Hill station at 12.37am on August 8 before the fatal collision.

He waited at the curb for about seven seconds as a convoy of three cars drove past him, the court was told.

There was then a sufficient gap in the traffic for Mr Evans to run across the road.

As he reached the halfway line, the defendant’s Volkswagen Polo came into view on CCTV footage.

Prosecutor Rekha Kodikara said Rizwan would have had about 1.28 seconds to respond to seeing Mr Evans.

She said an eyewitness in another car stated that Rizwan’s vehicle “shot past” him to overtake then collided with the pedestrian.

His average speed was at least 30mph but was “likely to be higher”, the prosecutor said.

A breath test also found he was close to exceeding the drink-drive limit.

Ms Kodikara told the court: “Had he travelled at the speed limit or less Mr Evans would have been able to complete that crossing in time without Mr Rizwan having to take any action to avoid colliding with him.”

Mr Evans never regained consciousness and he died from brain injuries five days later.

His parents Lynne and Janet Evans, brother Luke and fiancee Christina Mongelli described him as a talented artist, musician and actor.

Originally from Wales, he had switched from studying medicine at Cambridge University to creative arts at St Martin’s College in London, which posthumously awarded him his masters degree in sonic arts.

He had been teaching at a high school in London and his family had established “Joseph’s Wood” in his honour.

He was said to have “the most remarkable mind, capacity for learning and understanding, kindness and compassion”.

Before moving to London, he had been a member of the West Glamorgan Youth Theatre group.

In mitigation, David Burgess read out a letter to the judge in which Rizwan expressed his deep sorrow for what happened to Mr Evans.

The defence barrister said: “Both of them talented, and both of them unblemished character, if not exemplary.”

On Rizwan, he added: “He is a scientist of considerable talent who has worked hard and contributed to the community both in that regard and also in the sense of assisting young people in a local club with his boxing classes.”

Rizwan, of Wandsworth, south London, had pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey in October last year to causing death by dangerous driving.

On Monday, Judge Nigel Lickley sentenced him to two years in prison and disqualified him from driving for four years.

The judge acknowledged the “moving” statements by Mr Evans’ family, saying: “He was undoubtedly a very talented and much-loved man. He had his whole life ahead of him and he will not be forgotten.”

On Rizwan, he said: “You are clearly very remorseful.”