Driver who mowed down family-of-five while high on cocaine is GUILTY
Driver who mowed down family-of-five while high on cocaine is GUILTY of killing pregnant Cambridge scientist, 37, and her professor father, 81
- Nitesh Bissendary, 30, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving
- Driver had ploughed into family and then returned to car for drugs, court heard
- Prosecutor said crash was ‘entirely avoidable’ and caused by cocaine usage
A cocaine-fuelled driver who mowed down and killed a pregnant Cambridge scientist and her professor father has been found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
Nitesh Bissendary, 30, was under the influence of the class A drug when he veered into the family in his black Alfa Romeo as they walked near a car park.
Yoram Hirshfeld, 81, and Noga Sella, 37, who was pregnant with her third child, died when the car mounted a pavement in Ramsgate, Kent, in August.
Mrs Sella’s husband Omer, 40, suffered a lacerated spleen and their five-year-old daughter had a life-threatening head injury.
Nitesh Bissendary (pictured), 30, of Manston, Kent, killed Yoram Hirshfield, 81, and Noga Sella, 37, when he hit them with his black Alfa Romeo as they walked back to their hotel at around 9.35pm on August 10 this year, prosecutors allege
Cambridge physicist Noga Sella (left), 37, and Israel-based professor Yoram Hirshfeld (right), 81, both died when they were hit by a black Alfa Romeo in Ramsgate, Kent around 9.35pm on August 10
The couple’s eight-year-old son also suffered shock and minor injuries.
Mrs Sella was pronounced dead at the scene and Mr Hirshfeld died shortly afterwards.
During the trial at Canterbury Crown Court, the court heard Bissendary even returned to his vehicle to retrieve his cocaine while Mrs Sella was still trapped underneath.
Bissendary denied causing their deaths by dangerous driving, but today jurors returned unanimous guilty verdicts after deliberating for four hours and eight minutes.
After the verdicts were delivered, Bissendary could be seen sitting down in the dock, taking deep breaths.
He claimed the accident happened when he became distracted while trying to lift a faulty clutch with his hand while turning onto the road.
And he insisted he ran from the scene ‘in a panic’ after not realising he had struck anyone – despite Mrs Sella being trapped under the wreckage.
Bissendary returned to his vehicle shortly afterwards to retrieve cocaine from his car, as emergency workers treated the injured, the prosecution said during the trial.
But Bissendary claimed he was unaware of most of the injured family members and only wished to switch off the ignition.
He also claimed he refused to give blood as part of a drug test in the aftermath because he suffers from a needle phobia.
Mrs Sella’s husband Omer (pictured together) sustained serious injuries as they were struck by the car as they walked back to their hotel in the seaside town. Two children were also hurt in the collision
Bissendary was found guilty of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving at Canterbury Crown Court. He will be sentenced at a later date
The tragedy unfolded outside a multi-storey car park in Leopold Street at about 9.30pm on August 10, 2022.
Four of the victims lived in Cambridge, while Mr Hirshfeld was visiting his family from Israel and all were returning to their hotel after a meal.
Eyewitnesses described hearing ‘crunching noises and screaming’ outside a multi-story car park.
Prosecutor Nina Ellin said the crash was ‘entirely avoidable’ and Bissendary’s judgement was impaired after taking cocaine.
She told the court at the beginning of the trial: ‘The Crown say the fault of the collision was entirely the defendant’s. The collision was entirely avoidable.
‘The very fact that the vehicle mounted the kerb showed that the defendant was not controlling his vehicle as a competent and careful driver should do.’
Bissendary, of Manston, Kent, was found guilty of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Before trial, he admitted two lesser charges of causing death by careless driving.
He also pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, failing to provide a sample for analysis and possession with intent to supply cocaine.
He will be sentenced at the Canterbury Crown Court at a later date.
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