Hit-and-run driver blamed the sun after mowing down elderly woman

Mohammed Atif
-Credit: (Image: Greater Manchester Police)

A driver who mowed down an elderly woman as she crossed the road claimed he was ‘dazzled by the sunlight’.

Anne Buckley had waited for the lights at a pedestrian crossing to turn red before she began walking into the road in Moston in November 2022. She was struck by a Ford Fiesta being driven by Mohammed Atif.

The 79-year-old was sent hurtling into the air before landing on her head and shoulders. She was left with numerous injuries including to her neck, and now has a fear of crossing the road without help.

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Atif failed to stop at the scene and drove away, Manchester Crown Court heard. When police later caught up with him that day in November 2022 after he was identified through an ANPR camera, he said he had been ‘dazzled by the sunlight’ and claimed hadn’t seen Mrs Buckley, or the lights change to red.

He pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed for 20 months.

The court heard that the woman had pressed the button for the lights, of which the amber light was on for 11 seconds before turning to red. She waited for the ‘green man’ light to become activated and began to cross the Lightbrowne Road, which is governed by a 20mph limit.

Philip Hall, prosecuting, said: “There is CCTV which shows Mrs Buckley begin to cross the road, a Ford Fiesta being driven by Mr Atif comes very quickly into view while Mrs Buckley is around halfway across the road.

“The CCTV shows braking was applied at only the very last moment before impact and the speed of the Fiesta clearly did not allow for a sufficient stopping distance before colliding with Mrs Buckley.”

Mrs Buckley was thrown upwards and flipped over the passenger side of the car before landing on the road.

-Credit:MEN Media
-Credit:MEN Media

Atif admitted that he was aware he had struck Mrs Buckley but he failed to offer help and instead drove away. In a basis of plea, he later said he was “dazzled by the sun” but the Crown did not accept this.

Mrs Buckley was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary where she was treated for a number of injuries including a fractured arm and a fracture in her pelvis, as well as a large wound to her head.

In a statement, she said: “This incident has affected me a lot because I now struggle walking down to the shop. I will always have to ask someone to cross the road with me. I don’t like crossing the road because it makes me think about what happened to me.”

She added that she is still taking medication to deal with the pain.

Atif, of no previous convictions, was said to live with his pregnant wife and elderly mother, who he is the sole carer of.

“He is deeply remorseful - the first thing he would like to say is sorry,” his barrister, Bradley Mather said. “He seems to have buried his head in the sand.

“He accepts he should not have been driving at that speed, and it is seriously aggravated by the fact he didn’t stop. He went home to message his friends about what to do.”

Addressing Atif, who previously worked as an Uber driver, Judge Suzanne Goddard KC said: “You are very clear on the rules of the road in the UK and how you should be driving. Your negligence that day led to very serious consequences for Mrs Buckley.

“Even if you were blinded by the sun, you should not have been driving at that speed anyway. Having watched the video footage, you were clearly driving much faster than you should have been.”

Atif, of Demesne Road, Whalley Range, was also banned from driving for two years and 10 months.