Edinburgh teaching assistant ploughed car into house after losing consciousness, court hears

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She passed out while fasting during Ramadan, the court was told.

A teaching assistant crashed her car into a house causing £200,000 worth of damage after she passed out while fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, a court was told this week.

Maryam Abbasi was speeding on the wrong side of the road before she careered into a garden wall and then embedding the front of her vehicle into a family home in Edinburgh in April 2021.

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Abbasi, 37, was heading home from her job as a teaching assistant at a primary school when she lost control and ploughed her grey car into the bungalow resulting in extensive damage.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told the crash may have been caused due to the mother-of-two losing consciousness as she had been fasting during Ramadan at the time.

Maryam Abbasi was speeding on the wrong side of the road before she careered into a garden wall at the Edinburgh house.Maryam Abbasi was speeding on the wrong side of the road before she careered into a garden wall at the Edinburgh house.
Maryam Abbasi was speeding on the wrong side of the road before she careered into a garden wall at the Edinburgh house. | Alex Lawrie

Following the smash Abbasi, of Bilston, Midlothian, was rushed to hospital where she underwent surgery to serious facial wounds including having metal plates inserted. She was subsequently arrested and charged with dangerous driving but pleaded guilty to an amended charge of driving without due care and attention when she appeared in court on Monday. 

Fiscal depute Erin Illand told the court two witnesses spotted Abbasi speeding along the city’s Oxgangs Road before crashing into the house at around 3pm on April 26, 2021.

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Ms Illand said the pair were “travelling on foot and saw a dark vehicle driving at excessive speed towards a roundabout” and noted the vehicle “was on the wrong side of the road”.

The fiscal said: “The driver made no attempt to steer. The vehicle then collided with a garden wall and then collided with the house. There was major damage to that house and the accused was the sole occupant of the vehicle and was within the driver seat.

Teaching assistant Maryam Abbasi  crashed her car into a house causing £200,000 worth of damage.Teaching assistant Maryam Abbasi  crashed her car into a house causing £200,000 worth of damage.
Teaching assistant Maryam Abbasi crashed her car into a house causing £200,000 worth of damage. | Alex Lawrie

"She suffered traumatic injuries to her face and appeared to be dazed and confused. There was extensive damage to her vehicle and the damage to the house was estimated at £200,000.”

The court heard the occupant of the house was forced to move out for around 11 months for the repair work on the property to be carried out.

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Solicitor Richard Freeman, defending, said his client had qualified as a criminal lawyer in Pakistan and was studying for an HND in teaching in this country when the accident took place.

He said Abbasi had been working as a teaching assistant at Corstorphine Primary School as part of the college course and was driving home when she lost control of the car.

Mr Freeman said: “The circumstances are somewhat of a mystery. She had been fasting as part of Ramadan festival and had been fasting up until the incident and that may well have had something to do with the incident.”

The lawyer told the court Abbasi has “no recollection” of the accident and that she suffered a fractured right ankle and extensive bone fractures in her face during the smash.

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He said her children attended separate schools in Edinburgh and her driving licence was essential to the family as she is the only member who can take them to and from their schools.  

Mr Freeman added Abbasi had no endorsements on her licence since passing her test 11 years ago and has been driving without incident since the crash almost three years ago.

Sheriff Gordon Liddle said: “Looking at this in the round I am satisfied, as far as I can be, that there is no instant and obvious danger presented by your driving today and that is an important thing for the purpose of public safety is concerned.

“But I have to deal with this as it stands, so I am not going to disqualify you which is probably of great relief to you and instead I am going to impose penalty points.”

Abbasi had eight penalty points placed on her driving licence and was fined a total of £715.