The family of beautician Yağmur Özden, who was killed in a horror smash on the A40 last summer, has slammed the 7.5-year sentence of the driver responsible as “not enough and not fair”.
Rida Kazem was jailed at Isleworth Crown Court, West London, last Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Kazem, 24, was behind the wheel of a £180,000 black Range Rover Sport SVR where Ms Özden and another friend, Zamarod Arif, were passengers. He was driving both women home after a night out and was said to be “showing off” in his luxury 4×4.
A video played in court shows the car travelling at a top speed of 110mph along the 40mph dual carriageway in the early hours of 22 August 2022. Kazem lost control of the vehicle on a bend on the A40 westbound near Ealing.
The Range Rover went through a crash barrier on the A40 and into a Tesla dealership, ending up on the railway tracks at Park Royal Underground station.
Neither Ms Özden, 33, nor Kazem were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash and both were thrown out of the car, which was “reduced to a mangled heap of metal” said Judge Martin Edmunds KC.
Ms Özden’s family audibly gasped and sobbed as the court was played CCTV footage capturing the events during the high-speed crash.
The mother-of-one died of her injuries and Kazem had his left leg amputated from below the knee. Ms Arif, 26, who was the only one wearing a seatbelt, also survived the crash, but suffered serious injuries including a broken arm and leg.
“No evidence of real remorse” from the defendant, who had prior convictions for speeding
The judge said he had “found no evidence of real remorse” from the defendant, who smiled when he was sentenced and left court without any walking aid, despite arriving for sentencing using crutches.
The prosecution told the court Kazem has prior speeding convictions, including receiving a six month ban from driving in November 2020 after being caught driving 95mph in a 50mph zone.
He will serve at least two thirds of his 7.5 years and be banned from driving for 12 years.
After the sentencing, relatives of Ms Özden said that they do not feel Yağmur got any justice.
In a victim impact statement, Melek Özden, 13, had told the court she was “still in shock” at her mother’s death.
Yağmur’s 13-old-daughter Melek told the court: “I have a constant daydream of my mum passing away”
“I miss her and that I can no longer hang out with her.
“She was my best friend and I will miss the simple things like cooking pasta with her.”
“I have a constant daydream of my mum passing away. It happens every day and sometimes more than once a day.”
“I blame the driver for taking my mum away. I believe he’s acting like it never happened,” Melek’s statement continued. The teenager now lives with her grandmother following her mother’s death.
Talking to media outside Isleworth Crown Court after sentencing, Melek said Kazem offended her in the courtroom.
She said: “I’m not really happy with the sentence today but I really did feel sorry for him.
“When we left the court, he did say something really offensive and it just doesn’t give my mum any justice.
“It’s really offensive and it didn’t show he was sorry and there was no respect and the outcome was horrible and I don’t really like the sentence.”
“Hopefully my mum does get justice someday,” Melek added.
Ms Özden’s sister Maya Kodsi, 37, added: “We left the court in so much pain.
“They took the decision, it’s not enough and it’s not fair.
“There’s no punishment in this country.”