THE DRIVER of a hired Volkswagen Golf has been sentenced to 16 years in prison, after pleading guilty to deliberately driving the car into five pedestrians.
CCTV footage released by the Metropolitan Police captured the moment that landed Mustafa Esmail, 21, his hefty jail sentence. At approximately 3am on December 3, 2017, the suspect drove into a crowd of five people outside a bar in south London, before crashing the hired hatchback and escaping on foot.
According to the Met, the five people struck by the speeding vehicle received serious injuries, including multiple bone fractures and damage to internal organs and were admitted to hospital. However, none of them sustained life-changing injuries from the incident.
Scotland Yard says the incident began when Esmail and a group of friends were denied entry to the bar. An altercation with a bystander outside the bar followed, before Esmail left on foot. He returned in the Volkswagen Golf a short time later.
Although Esmail had fled the scene by the time officers arrived, the force was able to gather evidence that would prove to be highly valuable to investigators later down the line. Fingerprints and blood samples from the car’s inflated airbag were found, and the police also located a mobile phone in the car that linked the incident to the culprit.
The Metropolitan Police’s manhunt reached its conclusion just over six months later, on June 21, 2018, when officers managed to find and detain Esmail. While he gave false details to officers, the fingerprints gathered from the scene were the proof the Met needed to link the suspect with the incident outside the south London bar.
During sentencing at the Old Bailey on July 10, Esmail pleaded guilty to five counts of grievous bodily harm, for which he will spend 16 years behind bars. He was also handed a nine-month jail term for a separate actual bodily harm offence, though will serve this punishment concurrently with his 16-year sentence.
Detective Constable Tom Baxter, from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Esmail’s deliberate actions left a number five victims with significant injuries and it is only down to sheer good fortune and the work of the emergency services that the consequences were not more grave.
“Esmail attempted to evade police but will now have a considerable period of time to reflect on his behaviour that night.
“We hope this sentence brings those involved some closure and demonstrates our commitment to getting individuals intent on causing harm off our streets.”