A ‘CARELESS’ driver who killed two young women after hitting them as they crossed a road has told a jury he was ‘definitely not’ using his mobile phone at the time.

Accountant Mohmed Salman Patel, 26, has pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by careless driving in relation the the fatal crash which killed Shelby Maher, 17, and Rachel Murphy, 23, and injured a third woman.

But he has denied two counts of causing death by dangerous driving in relation to the incident, which happened on the A59 Brockholes Brow in the early evening of April 20, 2016

Patel, of Carham Road, Blackburn, told the jury how he had set off in his blue BMW 3 Series with his mother and sister as passengers to go on a shopping trip to Preston.

Patel said that he texted his girlfriend before he set off and was in possession of his mobile phone and an e-cigarette machine.

He admitted to texting his girlfriend while stationary at traffic lights on the roundabout approaching Brockholes Brow but denied having it in his hand at the time of the impact.

When asked by defence barrister, Paul Hynes QC, whether he saw any pedestrians in the road before the crash, Patel said: “No.” He also denied being distracted by anything, including his phone, e-cigarette machine or passengers.

When asked about the crash, Patel said: “I saw my windscreen smash. I didn’t know what it was. I pulled over. I came out of the vehicle and I saw pedestrians in the road. That is when I dialled 999.”

Patel said that he had to go back to his car to retrieve his mobile phone and check on his mother who was having a migraine attack.

He continued: “I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared about everyone’s safety. I just wanted to get help.

“I remember asking did anyone see what’s happened. I can’t remember the exact conversation from that day. I was just shocked.”

The jury was told that Ahmed took no evasive action and made no attempt to slow down in the lead-up to the collision.

When asked about that, Patel said: “I do accept I should have seen the pedestrians in the road. I don’t know why I didn’t see them. But it was not because of my mobile phone.”