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Banned driver who killed student in 100mph race caught reoffending behind wheel again

Harriet Barnsley and Rebecca McManus were both hit by Sukvinder Mannan while he was racing at speeds of up to 100mph  (Harriet Barnsley/West Midlands Police)
Harriet Barnsley and Rebecca McManus were both hit by Sukvinder Mannan while he was racing at speeds of up to 100mph (Harriet Barnsley/West Midlands Police)

A dangerous driver released early from prison after killing a university graduate and seriously injuring her friend has been caught offending behind the wheel again.

Sukvinder Mannan was racing at speeds of up to 100mph when he lost control of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution vehicle and hit 21-year-old Rebecca McManus and her friend Harriet Barnsley in 2014.

The best friends were at a bus stop on the Hagley Road West in Quinton, near Birmingham, waiting to go to a hen party.

Miss McManus was killed instantly, while Ms Barnsley, now aged 31, spent four weeks in a coma with a bleed to the brain. Almost 10 years on, she’s still suffering mentally and physically from the crash.

Mannan, now aged 42, was jailed for eight years and banned from driving for 10 after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Wolverhampton Crown Court in 2015.

Harriet Barnsley (left) and Rebecca McManus. Rebecca was killed while Harriet was injured when a speeding car hit them as they waited at a bus stop in Birmingham in 2014 (Harriet Barnsley)
Harriet Barnsley (left) and Rebecca McManus. Rebecca was killed while Harriet was injured when a speeding car hit them as they waited at a bus stop in Birmingham in 2014 (Harriet Barnsley)

The sales rep was then released halfway through his prison sentence - but is now back behind bars after he was caught driving while banned when police spotted him going through a red light.

As well as pleading guilty to driving whilst disqualified and failing to comply with a red light, he also admitted to have no insurance for the Mercedes vehicle. At Birmingham Magistrates’ Court last week, Mannan was jailed for 12 weeks and banned for a further 770 days.

Yet despite Ms Barnsley’s life-changing injuries, the now road safety campaigner said she had “found peace” with Mannan and didn’t feel anger, even after his reoffending.

Ms Barnsley told The Independent: “I feel I have made peace with him. I had to if I wanted to move on with my life. It has happened and I didn’t want to be always thinking about him. He’s already done his damage, I can’t let him continue to ruin my life.”

Reacting to news of his latest conviction, she said: “At first when I heard about it, I felt my stomach drop, it brought it all back, but then I didn’t feel surprise, I’m afraid.

“I don’t think there was any sentence that could do justice for what happened and I honestly don’t know how you can stop some people from breaking the rules fo the road.”

Harriet Barnsley woke up from four weeks in a coma with no recollection of the crash (Harriet Barnsley)
Harriet Barnsley woke up from four weeks in a coma with no recollection of the crash (Harriet Barnsley)

Ms Barnsley and Miss McManus were friends from the age of five having gone to the same primary and secondary school before both attending the University of East Anglia.

They had just graduated when they met at the bus stop to head into Birmingham for the hen party on 31 May, 2014.

Ms Barnsley said she couldn’t remember Mannan smashing his high-performance car into the bus stop, hitting them both, when she woke up from a coma in hospital.

Her injuries included subarachnoid haemorrhage and fractures to her left arm, right write, left leg and collar bone.

Rebecca McManus was killed instantly when Sukvinder Mannan’s car hit the bus stop she and Harriet Barnsley were at (West Midlands Police)
Rebecca McManus was killed instantly when Sukvinder Mannan’s car hit the bus stop she and Harriet Barnsley were at (West Midlands Police)
Sukvinder Mannan was sentenced to eight years in jail after being convicted of death by dangerous driving in 2015 - but released after four years (West Midlands Police)
Sukvinder Mannan was sentenced to eight years in jail after being convicted of death by dangerous driving in 2015 - but released after four years (West Midlands Police)

And although partially recovered physically, she’s since suffered mentally and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She also suffers from chronic fatigue.

Ms Barnsley, who writes a blog and is working on a book to tell her experience, said: “I’m focused on rebuilding my life, while also spreading my message to raise awareness of speeding to others. I want to make a difference and also show people what they can do if they are in my situation.

“Much more does need to be done on road safety. There needs to be a whole range of things done from capping the speed of cars to 77mph to more cameras on the roads. It’s a big challenge but it’s one I’ve taken on.”

West Midlands Police’s investigating officer PC Jason Berry criticised Mannon “total disregard” for the driving ban, which was to expire in 2025. He added: “He now faces more time behind bars and I hope he uses this time to reflect on his actions.”