Driver who killed two and injured four in M25 wrong-way smash jailed

Man from Enfield sat in car with “reckless” driver as he attempted to evade police among those killed

Barancan Nurcin (credit Hertfordshire Police)
Barancan Nurcin (credit Hertfordshire Police)

A “selfish and reckless” man who drove a stolen van the wrong way on the M25 has been jailed for causing the deaths of two people and seriously injuring four others.

Barancan Nurcin, aged 22, of High Road in Tottenham, appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Friday (21st) where he was handed an 18-year prison sentence.

It is the longest sentence that has ever been imposed for death by dangerous driving.

On Tuesday, 26th March, Nurcin had pleaded guilty two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, two counts of causing death whilst unlicensed and two counts of causing death whilst uninsured.

At the time of the incident, Nurcin was serving a suspended 15-month prison sentence in relation to an assault which occurred in London. The sentence has now been activated. He was also on bail for a public order offence, which also happened in London, and was given a five-month sentence which will run concurrently.

The M25 collision occurred on Sunday, 4th February, between junctions 22 (London Colney) and 21A (North Orbital Road/St Albans). Zoe Hawes, aged 39 and from Essex, and Fahad Dek, aged 23 and from Enfield, both lost their lives.

Zoe had been travelling to Luton Airport to go on holiday for her 40th birthday whilst Fahad had been a passenger in Nurcin’s vehicle.

Four other people were also seriously injured, including Zoe’s husband.

Zoe Hawes and Fahad Def
Zoe Hawes and Fahad Def (credit Facebook/Hertfordshire Police)

At around 3.40am, police were alerted to an ANPR activation on the M1. The vehicle, a white Citroen Dispatch van, had been reported stolen from the Greater Manchester area. Officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire were dispatched to search for the van and at 3.53am, it was located on the at junction 6a on the M1 travelling southbound. The van failed to stop and a police pursuit was authorised.

A few minutes later, the van dangerously took an emergency access road off the main carriageway. It then entered another carriageway, heading back on the motorway – this time travelling towards oncoming traffic. As a result, the pursuit was aborted for public safety.

The van was then spotted by officers in Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead, where it again failed to stop for officers.

A short time later the van was seen by police travelling on the wrong side of the M25. Officers followed it along the correct side of the road.

At around 4.08am, the van collided with a silver DFSK 580 Glory. Zoe Hawes was a passenger in this vehicle and sadly died at the scene. Her husband sustained broken bones all over his body, severe damage to his face and bleeding to the brain. He was placed in a medically induced coma. He suffered memory loss due to sedatives he was given and this meant he had to be repeatedly told that his beloved wife had died.

Two other vehicles – a silver Skoda Superb and a black Peugeot 5008 – collided with debris.

In the Peugeot were another couple, also on their way for a holiday. The couple were being driven by their friend to Heathrow Airport where they should have been jetting off to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. All three sustained injuries that they are yet to recover from.

The Skoda contained two occupants and both sustained bruising and other injuries.

Nurcin made off from the scene, leaving behind his friend Fahad Dek, who was deceased in the passenger seat. Officers located Nurcin nearby and he was taken to hospital with serious injuries. He was then arrested at hospital before being taken into custody.

It quickly emerged that his driving licence had already been revoked and he had no authority to drive any vehicle.

Nurcin’s driving licence had been revoked in 2021 when he was caught driving under the influence of cannabis. He was eligible to re-apply for his licence the next year, however, the DVLA was notified of a health issue relating to his heavy cannabis use.

Chief Inspector Steve O’Keeffe said: “Although nothing can make up for the pain Nurcin has caused, I am pleased with today’s result. Nurcin’s actions have had catastrophic consequences causing the deaths of two innocent people. Many more lives have also been destroyed through the trauma and heartache he has caused. The impact of this dreadful collision cannot be overstated and my thoughts are with the victims’ loved ones.

“Zoe Hawes was a much loved mother and grandmother whose life was cruelly cut short because of Nurcin. Zoe’s husband will require intensive therapy for a long period of time to assist with physical movement, communication and cognitive skills. He currently has no sight in one of his eyes.

“Fahad Dek was just twenty-three, with his whole life ahead of him. He was described by his family as a pillar of strength and they dearly miss him.

“That Nurcin left Fahad in the vehicle, whilst trying to evade officers, speaks volumes of his character.

“Nurcin had plenty of opportunity to safely pull over for police. Instead, he ignored our officers and made the incomprehensible decision to drive towards oncoming traffic, knowingly putting the public at risk.

“I hope today’s result goes some way in easing the pain of all those affected by the utterly selfish and dangerous actions of Nurcin.”

The circumstances leading up to the collision are being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct which is routine in matters like this.

The criminal investigation was led by Essex Police.

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