Ramsgate crash: Drug-driver who killed father and daughter jailed

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Noga Sella and her father Yoram HirshfeldImage source, FAMILY HANDOUT
Image caption,
Noga Sella and her father Yoram Hirshfeld died when they were hit by a car in Ramsgate

A drug-driver who killed a pregnant woman and her father when he mowed them down after mounting a pavement has been jailed.

Yoram Hirshfeld, 81, and Noga Sella, 37, were hit in Ramsgate, Kent, in August. Ms Sella's husband and two children were also injured.

Nitesh Bissendary was found guilty of causing the two deaths by dangerous driving on Wednesday.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court.

The court heard one child received serious head injuries.

'Pain, loss and torment'

Judge Simon James said: "The severe psychological impact will remain with all three survivors for the rest of their lives."

He told Bissendary: "No words can describe the pain, loss and torment you have caused.

"You were focused on self preservation and fled the scene. You went to your parents to try and hide the drugs you had been selling.

"When you initially ran from the scene you knew full well you had run people over."

Bissendary, 30, of Highlands Glade, Manston, had earlier admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two counts of failing to provide a specimen of blood, and possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.

After fleeing the scene, he returned later and a roadside drugs test found traces of cocaine in his system, Kent Police said.

The court was told Bissendary had a previous conviction for being in control of a car while under the influence of cocaine.

Image source, Kent Police
Image caption,
Nitesh Bissendary fled the scene after hitting the family, Kent Police said

Mr Hirshfeld and Ms Sella were walking on the pavement after a meal out when they were hit by a black Alfa Romeo being driven by Bissendary.

Police said he had travelled about 30m (98ft) on the pavement before he hit the family, including Ms Sella, who was five-weeks pregnant.

"He refused to give a follow-up blood test following arrest," a police spokesman said.

"Bissendary claimed to have a vehicle defect which he was trying to rectify, causing him to take his eyes off the road moments before the collision."

'Completely avoidable'

The prosecution said the fact the vehicle had mounted a kerb "showed that the defendant was not controlling his vehicle as a competent and careful driver should do".

The court was told Bissendary's judgment had been impaired due to his use of cocaine.

Det Insp Lynn Wilczek said: "From the moment he took cocaine before getting behind the wheel of his car, the actions of Nitesh Bissendary have been nothing short of disgraceful.

"He has refused to take full responsibility for a tragic incident that was completely avoidable and entirely of his making, going so far as to run away whilst his victims lay injured and dying."

A statement from Noga Sella's mother, Judy Hirshfeld, was read to the court.

It said: "Three families have been shattered. There are no words to describe the devastating loss of my daughter and husband. The sorrow and hardship are profound.

"Noga's children now have to learn how to grow up without a mother and we are also mourning the loss of her unborn baby."

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