Teen driver spared jail over M65 deaths

A teenager has been spared jail after admitting causing the death of two men by careless driving on the M65.

Callum Mossop (19) of Alderhurst End Farm, Trawden, was driving his Citroen C2 on an unlit section of the motorway when it crashed into the back of a Peugeot carrying friends Mazafer Iqbal and Mohammed Iqbal on July 26th last year.

The double fatality, which occurred between Junctions 9 and 10 eastbound at 2-15am, prompted campaigners to call again on Lancashire County Council to restore lights on the M65.

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Mossop, an apprentice farrier, was given 300 hours’ community service when he pleaded guilty at Burnley Crown Court. He was also banned from driving for two years by Judge Jonathan Gibson.

The court heard how the Peugeot was later hit by a second car, a Renault Clio, following the initial crash.

The driver of the Clio was not prosecuted because he was unable to see the stranded Peugeot due to a lack of lighting, the court heard.

Mossop had not been under the influence of drink or drugs, and was not speeding, at the time of the accident.

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Following the deaths, tributes flooded in to the two best friends “who did everything together”.

Mohammed Iqbal (49), from Burnley, and Mazafer Iqbal (47), of Brierfield, were popular men in their community.

Concerns over the lack of lighting on certain stretches of the M65 have been made by various people following a number of serious accidents in the last two years.

In June this year, Lancashire County Council announced that it would be removing lighting between junction 10 at Gannow Top and junction 14 at Colne when installing new safety barriers.

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Speaking in June to the Express, Chris Johnson, a maths and English lecturer from Newchurch-in-Pendle, has slammed the council over the removal of the lighting.

He claims they are prioritising cutting costs over saving lives.

“I find it totally unacceptable that the lights are to be turned off,” he wrote in an open letter to County Coun. John Fillis, cabinet member for Highways and Transport.

“I sincerely hope those that have made the decision are prepared to live with the inevitable consequences. Lives are being put further at risk by the switching off of these lights.”

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National policy requires councils to erect concrete barriers in the central reserve of newly-built motorways. They must also upgrade existing barriers to concrete barriers as they reach the end of their useful life.

Lancashire County Council say the new barriers will minimise the risk of cross-over accidents and reduce the need for repair and maintenance.