A driver killed his cousin when he crashed into the back of a lorry while showing off his rented BMW’s speed on the A40 Westway in Paddington

Yusif Salah, 20, was in the passenger seat when Abdullah Alsaadoun drove a rented BMW 640D at 90mph, three times the 30mph speed limit. 

The car was straddling two lanes when it smashed into the back of 26-tonne lorry, forcing the passenger side of the car underneath the lorry and crushing Yusif to death. 

Alsaadoun, 22, escaped with no significant injuries. 

On Tuesday (December 19) Alsaadoun was jailed for eight years and four months after he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving . 

'Showing off the BMW's power'

The two young men were cousins and Alsaadoun described Yusif as his best friend. 

At around 3.15am on June 13 the BMW approached the Westway, an elevated dual carriageway section of the A40, while travelling at 46mph. 

But in just over half a minute Alsaadoun accelerated to 90mph on the 30mph stretch of road, prosecutor Lisa Goddard told the court. 

Alsaadoun had been renting the BMW for almost a month at the cost of £300 a fortnight. 

Judge Anthony Leonard KC said: “There can only be one purpose for having a car with that amount of power when you were 21, and that’s for the speed you can obtain.” 

Yusif’s family said he had always feared going fast and always avoided rollercoasters for this reason. 

But even though Yusif would not have been interested in going fast, Judge Leonard said Alsaadoun wanted to show off the power of the car. 

It was not clear to investigators why the BMW was straddling two lanes when the crash happened, prosecutor Ms Goddard said. 

The lorry driver described the horror of the aftermath, as Alsadooun got out of the wrecked car shouting “my cousin, my cousin”. 

Alsaadoun then took his phone out and called his parents, who lived just a 30-second walk away, rather than 999. 

Yusif’s dad, Tariq Salah, said: “I believe Abdullah called his father on the telephone before calling an ambulance. I believe that if the ambulance arrived sooner Yusif might still be alive.” 

Alsaadoun insists he phoned his dad rather than 999 because road users were already on the phone to emergency services. 

When police arrived Alsaadoun appeared to be in a state of shock and begged officers “please help him”. 

Despite the efforts of paramedics and ambulance staff, Yusif was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Alsaadoun was arrested before being taken to hospital where scans and X-rays showed he had no serious injuries. 

He later answered no comments to all questions in a police interview, other than to issue a prepared statement saying the BMW was not stolen and that he was insured to drive it. 

'I have lost everything' 

Heartbreaking victim impact statements from Yusif’s family were read out in court. 

They described Yusif as a quiet and caring young man with a pure heart and soul. 

He was planning to start a plumbing course and regularly helped with his father’s family business. 

“He was everything to me. Yusif and I were very close and spent lots of time together. I love him and will always love him and miss him very much,” Yusif’s sister said. 

Yusif’s mum said: "I do not not know what the purpose of life is anymore. I have withdrawn from the world, this is because I have lost everything.” 

The court heard how whatever relationship existed between Yusif and Alsadoun’s family before the tragedy has been shattered and tensions now run high. 

“Abdullah has never been a family member,” said Yusif’s mum. “For a long time I have believed Abdullah has never liked my family.” 

She added: “I believe Abdullah has not shown any genuine remorse for what has happened.” 

But Alsaadoun’s barrister, Peter Marshall, insisted his client is extremely remorseful. 

He told the court that Alsaadoun was advised not to contact Yusif’s family as this might stoke tensions. 

“This was a very febrile and intense period, and it continues to be so. The fact that he has not yet been able to look them in the eye does not mean he does not have any remorse and guilt,” Mr Marshall said.

“It is another layer of tragedy. These two families, maybe they weren’t close, but Abdullah was close with Yusif and describes him as his best friend and said they spent lots of time together.” 

Eight years and four months

Judge Leonard explained that this crash happened just weeks before new guidelines were introduced that raise the maximum sentence for this offence from 14 years to life. 

“The family must understand that the sentence I pass cannot and will not make up for the loss of Yusif’s life,” Judge Leonard said. 

Alsaadoun, of Lilestone Street in Marylebone, had previously been disqualified for one year for driving with excess cannabis in his system and on another occasion he had been fined for driving without insurance. 

Judge Leonard explained that after hearing all the evidence, he was satisfied that Alsaadoun had been travelling at 90mph to show off. 

“Given that this happened within walking distance of your home, I conclude that you went up on the three-lane road to show off the speed of the car,” Judge Leonard said. 

He added that the only reason for a 21-year-old apprentice to rent such a powerful car would be to show off. 

Judge Leonard sentenced Alsaadoun to eight years and four months in prison. 

He will be disqualified from driving for 10 years and two months, and will be required to pass an extended driving test before he can drive again.