A dangerous driver was travelling at “grossly excessive speeds” when he killed a “kind and gentle” father and charity founder, a court has heard.

Zoltan Lakatos, 26, was driving a Mercedes at speeds of up to between 74 and 88mph down along Halliwell Road in Bolton on January 28 this year when he hit a car being driven by 60-year-old Aqeel Akhtar.

Bolton Crown Court heard that just before the crash an eyewitness had seen Lakatos, who was driving with two passengers in his car “fly past".

Adam Watkins, prosecuting, said: “He says, and I quote ‘that the car flew past him’ and again I quote ‘at a ridiculous speed.’”

The Bolton News: Aqeel Akhtar was hugely respected in the communityAqeel Akhtar was hugely respected in the community (Image: GMP)

He added: “There was no indication of any significant breaking before the collision."

This was despite the speed limit on Halliwell Road being just 30mph.

CCTV footage showed Lakatos driving at “grossly excessive” speeds before he hit Mr Akhtar’s vehicle, as the 60-year-old was trying to turn out from Wordsworth Road onto Halliwell Road after making a delivery.

Mr Watkins said: “Had the Mercedes been travelling at a speed even close to the limit of 30mph, Mr Akhtar, who had been working as a delivery driver that night, would have been able to complete his manoeuvre safely.

Mr Watkins told the court how Lakatos, of no fixed abode, ran from the scene after making “no attempt to check on the vehicle or any other those injured.”

Members of the public tried to help Mr Akhtar until paramedics arrived.

But though they were able to resuscitate him, Mr Akhtar never regained consciousness and died after his life support machine was turned off on February 28.

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Akhtar had been a well-loved and respected member of the community for his religious faith, his devotion to his family and his charity work which helped the vulnerable in Bolton and across the world.

A moving statement read to the court by Mr Akhtar’s son Mohammed laid bare the devastating impact his father’s death had had on the family, which he worked hard to provide for, and on the wider community.

He said: “Our father was a loving and caring man, not only to our family but also the community and humankind as a whole.”

He added: “Our hearts go out to the innocent families he supported with his charitable works, they too have lost their provider, their only hope.”

He described how his father had been a “compassionate and caring” man who had set up a new charity only last year, Humanity World.

All of this stood in stark contrast to the defendant who had run from the scene, leaving Mr Akhtar as well as his own injured passengers behind.

The entire family had had to deal with the devastating impact of Lakatos’ actions while Lakatos fled to London.

The Bolton News: Zoltan Lakatos was jailed for more than 10 years

Addressing Lakatos, Mohammed Akhtar said: “My father was not the one who was at fault that night, you and you alone have taken his life.”

He added: “It is for your selfish actions that we are all serving a life sentence.”

Lakatos was ultimately tracked down to the Earls Court area in London after leaving his DNA on an airbag in the Mercedes and eventually pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Virginia Hayton, defending, accepted that Lakatos had clearly been driving above the speed limit and that he had “fled the scene.”

But she argued his driving had not been “prolonged”, that he now understood the “devastating impact of his actions” and wished to apologise through her.

But Judge Tom Gilbart reminded the court just how dangerous Lakatos’ actions had been.

Addressing the defendant, he said: “You made the deliberate decision to drive at grossly excessive speed and you knew this was wrong.

He also told the court he felt that far from showing remorse, Lakatos had tried to “consistently tried to minimise his actions” when speaking to probation officers.

He said: “I do not accept that there is genuine remorse in this case, or if there is remorse it does not apply in such force that it is a mitigating feature.”

He added: “It was an entirely unnecessary and avoidable death, and you are responsible for it.”

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Judge Gilbart sentenced Lakatos to a total of 10 years and six months in prison and banned him from the roads for 14 years and five months.

In a statement after the hearing, PC John Loxham said: “Firstly, my thoughts are with the family of Aqeel at this sad time. They have gone through a great loss over these past few months, and hopefully this sentence starts to bring some form of closure.

“Lakatos’ actions on that evening were dangerous and reckless, he showed absolutely no regard for the law or other road users, travelling at speeds almost three times the 30mph limit in that area.

“Speeding makes up one of the ‘Fatal 4’ alongside drink and drug driving, seatbelt misuse and the use of mobile devices behind the wheel, which are main areas of concern in Greater Manchester."