DRIVERS were racing each other at more than 80mph before one of them ploughed into former Bolton mayoress Gay Wharton on a pedestrian crossing and killed her.

At Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court Assad Hussain was jailed for seven years and four months and Iqbal for four years and eight months.

Judge John Potter told them: "You both displayed competitive driving seeking, bluntly, to promote your own egos above the safety of others.

"You were both intensely selfish."

The court heard was told how Assad Hussain and Wasim Iqbal both had other convictions for dangerous driving and had previously been banned from the roads.

But just after 12pm on November 13 last year they were in Audis, racing each other on Chorley New Road, which has a speed limit of 30mph.

Iqbal had pulled out from a side road and Hussain, who was behind him, tried to undertake.

Iqbal, annoyed by the manoeuvre, sped up to prevent him and both reached speeds of more than 80mph.

READ MORE: Live coverage of the sentence hearing

Colin Buckle, prosecuting, told how Iqbal managed to stop at the pedestrian crossing near the junction with Bedford Street, but Hussain overtook him and two other cars stopped at the lights and struck Mrs Wharton.

The crossing lights had been showing red for 10 seconds, and Mrs Wharton, saw the approaching Audi, did not have time to get out of the way. A post mortem showed she suffered multiple injuries.

The court heard that Hussain had adequate time to see the lights on red and stop in time but chose not to do so.

Hussain, who had been seen driving dangerously by other witnesses earlier in the day, did not stop at the scene, only handing himself into police hours later. Tests later showed he had been using cannabis.

“There is no evidence that Hussain applied the brakes prior to the collision or even after he had struck Mrs Wharton,” said Mr Buckle and Judge Potter described him continuing to drive dangerously after leaving Mrs Wharton for dead on the crossing as "a quite callous act".

The court heard that Iqbal, who only pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving on the day of his trial, had been racing Hussain for 450 metres before the collision.

“The prosecution case against Mr Iqbal has always been that, although Mr Iqbal did not hit Mrs Wharton, he joined an enterprise of competitive racing, thus creating the circumstances for the accident to occur,” said Mr Buckle.

Iqbal, aged 23, of Chorley New Road, Bolton, only handed himself into police four days after the collision.

Hussain, aged 23, of Maplewood Gardens, Bolton, and Iqbal both pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving with Iqbal only admitting his guilt on the day of his trial.

The court heard how Hussain was banned from driving for 12 months in 2016 for dangerous driving and having no licence or insurance and, at the time he killed Mrs Wharton, in a car he had borrowed from his cousin, he was awaiting sentence for drink driving.

A pre-sentence report stressed how Hussain loved driving fast in high-powered cars.

"Assad Hussain, your actions were inherently selfish. You put your own hedonistic wishes above the safety of others with devastating and appalling consequences," Judge Potter told him.

Iqbal has previously been involved in three high-speed police pursuits and was banned from driving when the collision with Mrs Wharton occurred.

"You are patently a menace on the roads and have been for some time," Judge Potter told him.

In a victim statement read to Judge Potter by Mrs Wharton's widower, Stephen Wharton he told how, on the day of the collision, he was on his way home from work when police cars passed him.

READ MORE: Grieving husband Stephen Wharton's words to judge in full

He could get no reply when he phoned his wife.

“What I didn't know was that by then, she had already been killed,” he said.

He said he, his sons Matthew and Adam and Gay's three grandchildren have been devastated by her death and life has been "unbearable".

The couple had been together for 28 years and married for 19.

“It is safe to say that life will never been the same without Gay. My life ended that day and I now have to find my new place in the world without her, as have so many," said Mr Wharton.

Mrs Wharton, who was Bolton's joint mayoress when Cllr Martin Donaghy served as mayor in 2014, became closely involved with several charities in the town, including women's refuge Fortalice, of which she became a patron.

She was loved for her kindness and community spirit and hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects at her funeral.

“She had such a huge and positive impact on the lives of so many," said Mr Wharton.

"Not just us, her family, lost her that day, but everyone that had been touched by her kindness and selflessness. It left a whole community grieving.”

Judge Potter paid tribute to the dignity shown in court by Mrs Wharton's family and described Mrs Wharton as an exceptional, kind, devoted and talented person

"She served her community in an exemplary fashion. Her loss is immeasurable in so many ways," he said.

Rebecca Filletti, defending Hussain, said he is remorseful and handed himself into police 90 minutes after the collision after informing his family.

She described him as a working man who also helps in the family shop, assists at a youth clubs and with distributing food.

Oliver Jarvis, for Iqbal stressed that although he had been racing Hussain prior to the collision he managed to stop when seeing the pedestrian crossing lights on red.

As well as the prison sentences, Judge Potter banned Hussain from driving for 10 years and eight months and Iqbal for seven years and four months.