A DRIVER has been jailed after killing a loved Cumnock father by hitting him while he was out cycling.

Sania Shabbir, 27, killed father-of-two Martyn Gall and seriously injured James Middleton when they were cycling together in Alvechurch.

The pair were out on a bike ride with the Sette Dodici club when they were hit by a car being driven by Shabbir on the Redditch bypass in Alvechurch in the West Midlands just before 8am on November 14, 2020.

Martyn, 41, was killed and James, now 33, suffered horrific injuries, including a serious brain injury.

James spent four months in hospital, suffering lifelong consequences of the collision.

Martyn Gall grew up in Cumnock and attended Cumnock Academy before beginning his career in transport at T. French and Son, where he worked as a transport manager’s assistant.

A cycling event, Martyn's Go Cycle Safely, was held in Cumnock last year in Martyn's memory.

On Wednesday, June 14 at Birmingham Crown Court, Shabbir of Dale Road, Redditch, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. 

After initially pleading not guilty to charges of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Shabbir admitted the crimes on the day her trial was due to start in April.

Cumnock Chronicle: Martyn Gall.Martyn Gall. (Image: Diane Gall.)

Martyn’s widow, Diane Gall, said even though the sentencing won’t do anything to fill the "massive Martyn shaped hole" in their lives, it was "good to finally see justice done".

She said: Although nothing could ease the grief that we are suffering, we could have been spared the distress of a prolonged court process if Sania Shabbir had admitted her guilt two and a half years ago, instead of the day her trial was about to start last month. 

“The day Martyn died, the lives of all of his family and friends were ripped apart and nearly three years later his loss is still unbearable.

“Martyn was everything to all of us, especially me, his wife, and our daughters who lost their dad aged just 15 and 17 when their lives had been full of hope for the future.

“Instead, their world imploded, and we are only starting to try to pick up the pieces.

“The court has heard that the utter devastation we have had to face was caused by dangerous driving, and it is right that the driver is held accountable for Martyn’s death. 

“There had to be justice for Martyn’s death. I am an educator, I teach children the same thing that Martyn and I taught our daughters – to tell the truth and take responsibility, no matter how hard that is.

"It is some relief to us that there will be accountability for the terrible loss of Martyn’s life.”

Diana thanked RoadPeace, which has supported the family since Martyn’s death, and said she will continue to work for their campaign for safety.

She added: “If I can just make drivers hear my message to drive more carefully so that other families don’t have to go through this so that their dad, husband, or son, wife, mum or daughter is not killed, then maybe something will come out of the utter hell we have suffered.”

Shabbir’s full sentence is four and half years’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently with a two-and-a-half-year sentence in respect of the serious injury offence. 

She was also disqualified from driving for four years and nine months, with a condition that she must pass an extended driving test thereafter.

Both families were represented by Bethany Saunders, a partner at law firm Leigh Day.

Ms Saunders said the case was "truly tragic" and that "many lives were torn apart by the impact" of the crash.