Tottenham man who killed 2 and injured 4 driving van wrong way down M25 given 'longest sentence'

Barancin Nurcin police mugshot
-Credit: (Image: Herts Police)

A North London man who killed two people and injured four more driving a stolen van the wrong way down the motorway has been given the longest sentence ever for causing death by dangerous driving. Barancan Nurcin, 22, of High Road in Tottenham, was jailed for 18 years at St Alban's Crown Court on Friday (June 21) after admitting 10 driving offences at the same court on March 26.

The selfish thug was already serving a 15 month suspended sentence for a GBH and was on bail for a public order offence, both of which happened in London. The suspended sentence has now been activated and he will serve five months concurrently for the other offence of causing fear or provocation of violence

The terrifying crash happened on Sunday, February 4 between junction 22 (London Colney) and 21A (St Albans), killing Zoe Hawes, 39, from Essex, and Nurcin's own passenger Fahad Dek, 23, from Enfield. Zoe was on her way to Luton Airport for a 40th birthday holiday, alongside her husband who was seriously injured with three other people.

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Zoe Hawes
Zoe Hawes was travelling to go on holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday with her husband when the crash happened -Credit:Hertfordshire Police / Family handout

A white Citroen Dispatch van was stolen from the Greater Manchester area and police were alerted to ANPR activation at around 3:40am on the M1. Officers from Beds, Cambs, and Herts Road Policing Unit (RPU) were sent to look for the fan at 3:53am and found it travelling southbound on the M1 at junction 6a. The van, going up to 80mph, failed to stop so a pursuit was authorised.

A few minutes later, the van took an emergency access road off the main carriageway and then entered another carriageway, heading back on the motorway against oncoming traffic. Police abandoned the pursuit for public safety. The van was spotted again at Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead, where it again failed to stop for officers.

It was then seen by police travelling on the wrong side of the M25, so officers followed it along the correct side of the road. At around 4:08am the van collided with a silver DFSK 580 Glory, with Zoe and her husband Wayne inside the car. She sadly died, while her husband broke bones all over his body, had severe facial damage and bleeding to the brain. Memory loss from sedatives meant he had to be told repeatedly his wife was dead.

Zoe Hawe
Zoe Hawes had her life ripped away by the thoughtless actions of Nurcin -Credit:Herts Police

Two other vehicles - a silver Skoda Superb and a black Peugeot 5008 – collided with debris. In the Peugeot were another couple being driven by a friend to Heathrow Airport to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. All three are still recovering from their injuries. In the Skoda, the two occupants escaped with bruising and other injuries.

Shameless Nurcin then fled the scene, leaving his dead friend in the passenger seat. Police found Nurcin nearby on a bridge with serious injuries and he was taken to hospital where he was arrested. It quickly emerged his driving license was already revoked in 2021 when he was caught driving under the influence of cannabis, and he had been unable to reapply due to his heavy use of the drug.

Fahad Dek, 23
Fahad Dek, 23, has been described as a "pillar of strength" who was "cherished by all" -Credit:Family handout

Chief Inspector Steve O’Keeffe, from the RPU, said: “Although nothing can make up for the pain Nurcin has caused, I am pleased with the result. Nurcin’s actions have had catastrophic consequences causing the deaths of two innocent people. Many more lives have also been destroyed through the trauma and heartache he has caused. The impact of this dreadful collision cannot be overstated and my thoughts are with the victims’ loved ones.

“Zoe Hawes was a much loved mother and grandmother whose life was cruelly cut short because of Nurcin. Zoe’s husband will require intensive therapy for a long period of time to assist with physical movement, communication and cognitive skills. He currently has no sight in one of his eyes.

“Fahad Dek was just twenty-three, with his whole life ahead of him. He was described by his family as a pillar of strength and they dearly miss him. That Nurcin left Fahad in the vehicle, whilst trying to evade officers, speaks volumes of his character.

“Nurcin had plenty of opportunity to safely pull over for police. Instead, he ignored our officers and made the incomprehensible decision to drive towards oncoming traffic, knowingly putting the public at risk. I hope today’s result goes some way in easing the pain of all those affected by the utterly selfish and dangerous actions of Nurcin.”

The circumstances leading up to the collision are being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct which is routine in matters like this. The criminal investigation was led by Essex Police.

Nurcin was also disqualified from driving for 20 years. He pleaded guilty to the following:

Causing death by dangerous driving x2 Causing serious injury by dangerous driving x4 Causing death whilst unlicensed x2 Causing death whilst uninsured x2

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