The devastated parents of Lisa Saville say they will never get over losing her after the taxi driver responsible for her death walked free from court.
Lisa, 19, died when she jumped from a moving taxi after a skirmish between the driver and another passenger in March.
Her mum and dad, Debbie and David Saville, said: “Our lives feel so empty without Lisa. She meant the world to us. Lisa was beautiful inside and out.
“She had an infectious laugh and a smile for everyone. We miss that smile and the way she used to light up a room.
“We haven’t just lost our beautiful daughter, we have lost our best friend.”
Taxi driver Jawaid Iqbal, 42, was yesterday given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted causing Lisa’s death by careless driving.
Bradford Crown Court heard how Lisa and her friends Michelle Dunkley and Daniel Briggs, who were then in a relationship, had got into a taxi driven by Iqbal after a night out in Halifax in the early hours of March 4.
The group originally asked to be taken to Illingworth, but then decided to go to City Lane, Wheatley.
But when they got there, Mr Briggs, who the court heard had behaved aggressively towards Miss Dunkley earlier in the night, got into a heated exchange with the cabbie regarding the cost of the taxi.
Miss Dunkley got out of the taxi but while the door was still open, Mr Briggs stood up inside the cab landed a punch on Iqbal.
Fearing for his safety, Iqbal told Mr Briggs that he was taking him to the police station and began to drive.
As the vehicle started to move, Mr Briggs immediately jumped from the vehicle, leaving Lisa inside. She then followed him out of the taxi as it gathered pace, but landed on her back and hit her head on the pavement. She never regained consciousness.
Timothy Capstick, prosecuting, said: “Mr Briggs exited through the taxi door and sustained superficial injuries. He was followed by Lisa, who Miss Dunkley saw jump out, fall on her back and hit her skull on the ground which caused the fatal injury.”
Iqbal then drove 50 metres up City Lane before realised Lisa was no longer in the car, but didn’t go back to find out what had happened to her.
“By the time he got to the end of the road he would have been aware she was not in the taxi. He didn’t stop and go back to the scene. Quite simply, he did nothing.”
Mr Capstick told the court how just two hours later Iqbal denied any knowledge of the incident to the police when they visited the taxi rank he worked at, and how CCTV footage showed him taking the taxi to be washed just minutes after the police had left. Mr Capstick added: “Iqbal then contacted a solicitor at 9am the following morning, but he told police he didn’t know anything about it until he 5.25pm that evening.”
But Abdul Iqbal, defending, said: “Mr Briggs had behaved aggressively towards Miss Dunkley before this incident, and was then aggressive during this incident and with the police during the investigation. But for his aggression and violence it is almost beyond doubt that Lisa Saville would not have lost her life and this defendant would not have this conviction.”
Mr Iqbal also told the court how the defendant, who has been living in Worcester on bail, has becoming clinically depressed since the incident and has had suicidal thoughts. He added that Iqbal has had to leave his family and children behind in Halifax because they are unable to move to the midlands with him.
Judge Robert Bartfield, said: “This is a very unusual case, if not unique. Lisa’s death is so devasting and I’m sorry to say that the passage of time will not weaken that.
To Iqbal, he said: “You will have to live with this for the rest of your life.”
As well as the suspended sentence, Iqbal must do 100 hours of unpaid work and must not enter Halifax for the next two years without permission from his supervising officer. He has also been banned from driving for 12 months.