A hit-and-run driver who mowed down a schoolgirl aged ten and left her for dead has been spared jail.
Farhan Musaji, 26, jumped a red light at a junction in his Audi A4 and ploughed into Layla Shepard as she was cycling home, before fleeing the scene and abandoning his car.
The horrific incident in Deane, near Bolton, Greater Manchester left the ten-year-old with a fractured cheekbone and a broken nose, as well as needing surgery on her leg.
Musaji, a pharmacist, faced up to two years in jail after he admitted causing serious injury by careless driving and failing to stop after an accident.
But at Bolton Crown Court, he was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to pay the child £900 damages.
In a statement, the youngster said: ‘I feel like the whole incident has left me overwhelmed.
‘I have recently seen a psychiatrist, who has diagnosed me with PTSD. I have not ridden my bike since the incident and I regularly suffer flashbacks, which keep me up at night.’
In sentencing, Judge Elliot Knopf told him: ‘Rather than turning back and seeking to provide assistance and comfort to the girl with whom you had collided and who had been injured significantly by your actions, you ran off.
‘It is said that on reflection for your absolutely disgraceful behaviour in running off that you feel genuine remorse for what you did. I am prepared to accept that.
‘You’re a hard-working young man as far as I can tell. You have worked your way up over a period of nine years and people speak highly of your ability and honesty.’
At the time of the crash Layla’s stepmother Becky Mather said: ‘When I found out I felt numb. The driver drove off, I think that is what is more frustrating.
‘She was on her bike on the way back from a friend’s. I am just grateful that Layla is still here.’
Miss Anna Bond, prosecuting, said, ‘At around 6.49pm on Saturday October 16, 2021, Layla Shepard, who was ten at the time, was riding on her pushbike along Wigan Road towards a crossing junction.
‘A Mr Downey had just emerged from a chip shop nearby and went to the traffic lights on the other side of the crossing. He saw the defendant’s car come through the red lights at speed and hit Layla off her bike.
‘Layla hit the windscreen of the car and flew in the air before landing a short distance down the road going towards Wigan town centre.
‘Instead of stopping, the defendant drove on and abandoned the car a short time after. The police later discovered there was no registration plate on the car.
‘Layla had no lights on her bike and was not wearing any hi-vis clothing. However, there was street lighting and the incident happened alongside a parade of shops.
‘As a result of the collision, Layla was left with significant swelling and a fracture to her knee, which required a brace. She was later discharged from hospital on October 22.
‘Greater Manchester Police received a radio transmission about the collision and attended the defendant’s address. The defendant rang his father to tell him about the collision and he then confirmed this to the officers when they arrived.
‘However, the defendant was not present at the address at that time.
‘On October 17, the defendant and his father attended Bolton police station for interview. He later returned on October 20 with his solicitor.’
Peter Malone, defending, said: ‘I do not stress this enough, the remorse Mr Musaji feels and his regret for coming before you today.
‘This whole case is unfortunate, and he realises he is wholly to blame for it. He just did not see that individual when he was driving. What happened next was sheer panic, and he did drive off and went home to his father where they both contacted the police.
‘There has been no repetition of this kind of behaviour since, he has kept out of trouble.’He has not driven since the incident and now relies on public transport to get to the pharmacy where he works.
Musaji, of Bolton, was initially charged with causing injury by dangerous driving but this charge was eventually amended to careless driving.
He was also banned from driving for a year and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work. He was further fined £400 and ordered to pay £300 in costs.