Coroner says 4 dads from Luton and Leighton Buzzard killed in "awful and tragic" collision died before car caught fire

A drink driver crashed his car into a roundabout at high speed killing himself and three friends, an inquest heard.

By Court Reporter
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 1:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th June 2022, 1:29 pm
Tributes left at the scene
Tributes left at the scene

A series of inquests at Ampthill today (Thursday) heard the crash happened at the A5 Flying Fox roundabout near Hockliffe around 3.40am on Sunday, October 10.

Zahir “Zeus” Baig and his friends had left a nightclub and were on their way to watch the Tyson Fury World Heavyweight Championship fight against Deontay Wilder when they died.

The inquest was told that Zahir Baig, the driver, crashed into the roundabout, causing his BMW M5 to fly 77 metres through the air before crashing into a field where it burst into flames.

Zahir Baig

But the inquest heard it was likely all the men were dead before the car caught fire.

Those who died were: Zahir Baig, 39, from Luton, Sahir Iqbal, 39, from Luton, Jason McGovern, 46, from Leighton Buzzard. and Mohammed Uddin, 41, from Luton.

They were so badly injured that they had to be identified by tattoos and scars on their bodies.

Zahir Baig’s cause of death was was multiple injuries and fatal burns with a second cause of excess alcohol. The cause of death for the three passengers was given as multiple injuries and fatal burns.

Sahir Iqbal

At the time one relative said: “All we know is that my brother-in-law and three friends had gone out that night to watch the Tyson Fury fight.”

Forensic Collision Investigator Paul Andrews told the inquest Mr Baig had a blood reading of 96 - the limit being 80.

He said the men had been asked to leave the Pink Punters nightclub in Fenny Stratford after Mr Baig had become involved in a confrontation.

CCTV showed the car being driven erratically as it hit a kerb when completing a 3-point turn and going past a parked vehicle. It was travelling at 46mph in a 30mph zone.

Jay McGovern

PC Andrews said analysis of marks on road at the roundabout on the A5 showed the BMW was speeding at between 84 and 107mph.

He said: “It went airborne across the roundabout, across a hedge and landed in a field. It skidded a short distance on the roof and caught fire.”

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He added the cause of the crash was the driver either being impaired due to alcohol, fatigue or distraction. “It is likely all three caused the collision,” he said.

DC Helen Giles said all four men had gone to the club around half past midnight and had left at around 3.32am. She said: “Mr Baig was engaging in horseplay and messing around with Mr Iqbal when he accidentally slapped another individual and they were asked to leave.”

She said Mr Baig was involved in a tussle with door staff. As he walked to his car he seemed very unsteady on his feet, she said.

In a statement summarised by the coroner, a driver going northbound, who was named only as Tom, said he saw dust and debris and a vehicle in the air. The man drove around the roundabout, dialled 999 and saw an orange glow in the field. Other drivers also stopped.

Assistant Bedfordshire and Luton coroner Dr Sean Cummings said he said he was sure all the four men were dead before the car caught fire.

Dr Cummings said his conclusion was that the four men died as a result of a road traffic collision.

In a tribute statement at the time the family of Zahir Baig of Abigail Close, Luton, said: “We are absolutely devastated to have lost our heart and soul of the family.

“He was the head of our family, he was our 6’3” shadow and protector. He was the best father, brother, son and uncle; someone that would do anything for his family.

“Zahir was truly one of a kind - unique and someone whose heart was so big and kind it was too big for his body.

“We ask you to pray for our brother and his friends who have so tragically lost their lives and we hope no other family has to go through this pain we are suffering today.

“We would like to thank you for all your messages of condolences, we have seen them all but as you can imagine it’s very difficult to send individual replies. We thank you and acknowledge you all.”

Sahir Iqbal of Trent Road, Luton, was described by his family as a precious son, brother, father and husband.

“He was the strength of our family, we will never forget the countless times he would run to our rescue no matter where or what he was doing,” they said.

“Our big brother. A father and son so full of love. His smile will be remembered by all.

“He was unique, unrefined and transparent and there was no other like him. Many may have a heart of gold, his was a heart of diamonds.

“We will never forget you, you are irreplaceable. So until we meet again, rest in peace.”

Jason ‘Jay’ McGovern of Roosevelt Avenue, Leighton Buzzard, was the son of Valerie Closs, father to Joe Jack and brother to Daniel Wilson.

In a statement his family said: “Jay was a man of many personalities. He was generous, funny and silly at times. He would do anything to help those he cared about.

“Jay had his faults, but he was well loved by those who really knew him and regarded him as a friend.

“Jay will be truly missed, especially by his wife of two months and partner for 14 years Sharon McGovern, his step daughter Marcella Clarke and his granddaughter.”

The family of Mohammed Uddin of Biscot Road, Luton, said he was “a loyal man who always guarded his family and friends”.

They added: “A devoted father of four beautiful children and loved dearly by all of his family.

“A lion-hearted brother of the community who will be remembered for generations to come.”