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A motorist accused of murdering a passenger by running her over on the North Circular after a road rage row pumped his fist in joy as he was cleared by a jury.

Robert Barrow was accused of knocking down and driving over 49-year-old Tahereh Pirali-Dashti following a confrontation in London on January 20 last year, the court heard.

The 55-year-old defendant denied murder, claiming it was an ‘accident’.

A jury found Barrow, of Chigwell, Essex, not guilty of the murder of Mrs Pirali-Dashti and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

He was also found not guilty of assaulting her husband by beating.

The court heard how Mrs Pirali-Dashti had been travelling towards Brent Cross with her husband, Asghar Moradmand, when their Honda Civic bumped into Barrow’s £43,000 Volkswagen Touareg as they both switched lanes.

Prosecutor Deanna Heer alleged that Barrow ‘lost his temper’ following the minor collision and punched Mr Moradmand in the face.

The case was heard at the Old Bailey in London and saw Robert Barrow, 55, cleared of murder

The case was heard at the Old Bailey in London and saw Robert Barrow, 55, cleared of murder

The case was heard at the Old Bailey in London and saw Robert Barrow, 55, cleared of murder

Mrs Pirali-Dashti was standing in front of the defendant’s car on the phone to the police when Barrow knocked her to the ground, jurors heard.

Ms Heer told the court: ‘Then, as she lay on the ground, he drove over her, causing severe crushing injuries from which she later was to die.

‘Because of the slow speed at which he was travelling, as he drove forward having knocked her to the ground, the defendant then had to rev his engine to get over Ms Pirali-Dashti’s body as she lay on the ground.

‘There is no dispute that the death was caused as a result of being run over by the defendant.’ 

Ms Pirali-Dashti suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital with serious brain damage and skeletal fractures after the incident in January last year.

She died less than three months later on 10 April after contracting pneumonia and COVID-19.

Following his arrest Barrow had insisted he had ‘no intention to harm anyone’ and claimed Mr Morandmand had been aggressive towards him.

Mrs Pirali-Dashti’s husband had been shouting for Barrow to stop as he drove forward, the Old Bailey heard.

In a prepared statement following his arrest Barrow said he ‘feared for his safety’ as Mr Morandmand had been ‘very aggressive’ after the collision.

Barrow said the couple were ‘abusive’ when he attempted to take photographs of the damage.

He said he tried to move his VW Touareg SUV out of the way of traffic ‘and before I knew what was happening…the woman was under my car’.

Barrow said he drove away ‘in panic and in shock’, before calling his wife.

The crash happened on the North Circular (file pic) in London back on January 20 last year

The crash happened on the North Circular (file pic) in London back on January 20 last year

The crash happened on the North Circular (file pic) in London back on January 20 last year

He also said he was ‘very sorry to hear’ that Ms Pirali-Dashti had suffered such serious injuries, offering his ‘condolences and apologies for that’.

When questioned further Barrow declined to answer and more police questions and repeated ‘I’ve apologised and the rest is no comment’.

Giving evidence during the trial, Barrow insisted it was an ‘accident’.

He told jurors: ‘I was starting to get scared. I didn’t go out to kill and murder someone.’

Asked if he was worried at the time that he might hit Mr Moradmand who stood near his wife in front of the car, the defendant said: ‘You do have concerns but I didn’t tell either of them to put themselves in a position in front of my car?

‘You don’t put yourself in danger.’

He told jurors that he mistakenly thought the couple were ‘trying to pull a scam on me’ so he just wanted to ‘move away’.

Barrow, who had been remanded in custody since the incident on January 20, 2020, put his thumbs up to the jury and nodded his head as they announced their verdicts.

He then said ‘I just want to make…’ but was cut off by Judge Nigel Lickley who said: ‘Mr Barrow that’s not necessary’.

Source: Daily Mail

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