A speeding driver mowed down and killed a cyclist when he tried to overtake another vehicle as she rode home from work, a court heard today.
Ugur Unlu, 23, was driving his friend’s Smart car when he hit Hungarian Anita Szucs, 30, at such speed that he tore the bike apart.
He drove off, leaving the Hungarian Aldi warehouse worker dying on the cycle super highway at Bounces Road, near her Enfield home on 6 February last year.
The victim was married to Tamas Mezo, who works as a porter at an exclusive hotel in Knightsbridge.
She was the first cyclist to die on London’s roads last year and passed away after she suffered multiple catastrophic injuries.
Ms Szucs was on her way back from work at a Lidl warehouse in Edmonton when she catapulted into the air.
Prosecutor Sonya Saul said: ‘Both the defendants face sentence following pleas to a collision that took place on the 6 February, it resulted in the death of Anita Szucs.’
She continued: ‘This is an incident that took place at 1.43am – Anita Szucs was cycling home from work, she was struck by a Smart car that was driving on the wrong side of the road.’
The prosecutor said the speed limit on the road was a 20 zone and at the time of impact the driver clattered into the victim at a speed of 57mph.
‘At the time of the collision it was being driven by Ugur Unlu,’ she added. ‘An eyewitness to the incident described hearing a loud bang before seeing a bike fly through the air.’
She told the Old Bailey that the witness attempted to get the registration of the vehicle but the vehicle sped off as the victim lay in the middle of the road.
Ms Saul said: ‘Following the collision the defendants fled at such speed despite the injuries that the victim suffered.’
She added: ‘When the police arrived Ms Szucs lying face down with a large head wound – blood was coming from her eyes and nose.’
Police officers gave her basic medical attention as paramedics rushed to the scene before one of her Lidl co-workers, who was walking home, identified her.
The victim was rushed to hospital and regained her pulse at around 2.43am but died minutes later, before her husband was told of the tragic news shortly after 4am.
Ms Saul said: ‘Officers who attended the scene described the bike splitting into a number of pieces.’
The smart car was located at around 4pm the next day and the owner, Huseyin Kaygisiz, was identified.
Kaygisiz, 20, declined to answer questions in interview but his lawyer read a prepared statement that said he ‘did not see the accident’ and he was not the driver.
‘I was in the front passenger seat – there was a loud bang and the windscreen shattered,’ he said.
Ms Saul said: ‘This was a flagrant disregard to the rules of the road.’
Judge Rebecca Poulet, QC, described the crime as an ‘absolute tragedy’ for the victim’s family, adding that the impact statement she read from her husband was ‘extremely moving’.
Khurram Arif, for Unlu, said his client ‘had no idea’ that the slightly tinted windows of the car he was driving meant that it was unroadworthy.
‘Perhaps that explains why he did not see Ms Szucks,’ he said. ‘It remained an incident that happened within seconds.’
He said the driver was not driving for such a length of time that he ‘must have seen her.’
The defence barrister said Unlu ‘simply did not see her’, adding: ‘Thereafter he was shocked, scared, frightened and he acted like a coward as he says.’
Peter Rowlands, defending Kaygisiz, a Sainsbury’s worker who was due to go to university, said the driver was in a ‘state of complete panic’.
He said of Kaygisiz: ‘He admitted the prosecution’s case – that the car was his and he was in it.
‘Not a day goes by that he does not think of the events of that night.’
Both defendants, flanked by two dock officers, displayed little emotion the hearing and bowed their heads throughout.
Turk Unlu, of Dark Lane, Cheshunt, Herts, admitted causing death by dangerous driving, driving, death by no insurance, dangerous driving.
Fellow Turk, Kaygisiz, of Gloster Road, Woking, Surrey, admitted causing death by no insurance and dangerous driving.
They are due to be jailed at the Old Bailey later today.
Judge Poulet jailed Unlu for six years and disqualified him from driving for four years and ordered him to take an extended driving test on release.
She told Unlu, who has a previous conviction for drink driving, that he ‘should have learnt to behave on the roads’ and she was ‘so troubled by his conduct that night.’
She told him: ‘Despite completely shattering the windscreen you did not stop – you drove on for two miles.’
The judge added: ‘Even at that point you drove on at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour – then left the car in another place, probably hoping that it would not be found.’
Judge Poulet said the reason why he was travelling at such a speed was because ‘you must have put your foot to the floor.’
The judge accepted Unlu’s remorse was genuine and his life was shattered.
Family members wept in the public gallery as the judge passed sentence.
Judge Poulet said she had read the ‘most moving impact statement’ from the victim’s husband.
‘The police had the terrible responsibility of calling in at the home of her husband, he was woken to the terrible news that his wife had been so severely injured.’
She spared Kaygisiz jail, instead handing him a prison sentence of 24 weeks suspended for two years and told him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
He will also be made subject to a curfew on release monitored by an electronic tag.