Shocking moment newlywed hit-and-run killer 'inhales laughing gas' minutes before killing dad-of-two

THIS is the shocking moment a newlywed hit-and-run driver inhales from a balloon believed to filled with laughing gas just minutes before killing a dad-of-two.

CCTV footage captured Gary Haffenden sucking on a balloon thought to contain nitrous oxide as he drove a pick-up truck just before hitting a restaurant owner.

Haffenden, 21, was starting a three year prison sentence today after he mowed down and killed Syed Zaidi in front of his wife and children while on bail for a horror non-stop crash months earlier.

In both incidents, Haffenden fled from the scene, leaving one of his victims lying critically injured in the road and the other dead.

The judge was shown this video of Haffenden driving through the forecourt of a petrol station with a pink latex balloon blown up and in his mouth – just 10 minutes before the tragic crash that killed Mr Zaidi.

Sitting in the dock at Reading Crown Court, Haffenden cried as he heard how the 35-year-old fatal victim had been out with his one-year-old son, three-year-old daughter and wife at Virginia Water, Surrey.

Alan Blake, prosecuting, said: "Syed Zaidi had received a call to say that a delivery driver was having problems with their car. He decided to do the delivery himself before going home.


"He was delivering the last lot of food to a home in Virginia Water. His wife saw him look right on the road before she saw a flash and her husband disappeared from her view.

"She realised he had been propelled some distance."

To Judge Dugdale's horror, then 19-year-old Haffenden did not stop to help the man he had run down, instead fleeing the scene before abandoning the car 10 minutes later in Egham, Surrey.

After a few hours, the teenager surrendered himself at Staines police station, claiming a pedestrian had "stumbled out" in front of his car and that he did try to brake but it was too late.

Officers found 17 empty nitrous oxide canisters used for "laughing gas" scattered on the floor of the truck.

Widow Afsheen Shiraz took to the witness box to express her heartbreak.

She said: "After this incident I have lost myself, I have to take care of my children alone, I am totally incomplete without him. My heart weeps every night.

"When my children ask when their papa is coming back I am left speechless. My daughter said she wanted to become a doctor so she can heal her father from the accident.

"We were looking at our husband delivering food, after that he was coming back – my children saw it all. We will never forget that moment.

"Without my loving, caring husband, my children do not have their father to protect them. 

When I see a couple smiling I look to the sky and ask God to support them because I know the pain I am suffering. My life is completely meaningless."

"When I see a couple smiling I look to the sky and ask God to support them because I know the pain I am suffering. My life is completely meaningless."

Judge Paul Dugdale heard how Haffenden was driving at 67mph on a 40mph road just 100 metres before he collided with the father-of-two.

The court heard that this tragedy was just nine months after causing building surveyor Graham Nichols life-changing injuries in a hit-and-run collision in Kent.

Haffenden handed himself in to police the next morning who found canisters of nitrous oxide scattered around the floor of his truck and a packet of yellow latex balloons, prosecutor Alan Blake told the court.

He admitted causing death by careless driving, causing death while uninsured and failing to stop, as well as admitting to the previous offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.


Jonas Milner, defending, said: "There is not a day that goes by when Gary Haffenden doesn’t feel remorseful for what he has done, he will remain remorseful for the rest of his life.

"He recently married his long term girlfriend. He accepts that his life will be on pause as he serves his punishment but there is hope for him in the future."

Judge Dugdale said "there are no winners in this" when he sentenced Haffenden.

He added: "Nothing I can do will help his wife, his father in Pakistan and, worst of all, his children who will grow up without knowing their father at all. There are no winners in this.

"You were on bail for having crashed a pick-up truck into a man who spent five weeks in hospital. 

"One would have thought you were doing your best to keep out of the driver's seat, let alone a pick-up truck when you are out in a jolly with your mates, taking gas from balloons which you did that day.

"We have seen pictures of you with a balloon in your mouth, you have told us that the balloon was full of air. I sentence you on the basis that you were not under the influence when this accident took place."

Haffenden, of East Malling, Kent, was jailed for three years and was disqualified from driving for four-and-a-half years.

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