- Shabana Ahmed killed outside academy in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
- Incident saw mother, 46, try to shield 5, 8, and 10-year-old daughters
- One suffered serious injuries, another was hurt and third was uninjured
- Handbrake believed to have failed on Ford Transit and it rolled down hill
A mother-of-four was crushed to death after diving in front of a runaway van as she tried to protect her three children while they walked home from school.
Shabana Ahmed, 46, is said to have shielded three of her daughters and taken the force of the collision outside the Madina Academy in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, at 3.30pm on Friday.
She was pronounced dead at the scene and her 10-year-old daughter Kiran also suffered serious injuries in the accident, while Mariam, five, was hurt and sister Maria, eight, escaped uninjured.
Tragedy: Shabana Ahmed, 46, is said to have shielded three of her daughters and taken the force of the collision outside the Madina Academy (left, in church) in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, at 3.30pm last Friday
Mrs Ahmed, who also has a daughter in her 20s, was hit by a Ford Transit Connect van which was believed to have been parked for some time on a steep road outside the academy facing uphill.
It is believed the handbrake failed and the van – said to be owned by an electrician – rolled 30 yards backwards down the hill, hitting Mrs Ahmed and her children near the Chipbox fish and chip shop.
Witnesses said Mrs Ahmed only saw the van at the last second and appeared to shield her girls, taking the full force of the blow herself. She lived only a short distance away with her husband.
It is thought she had just collected her children from Eastborough Junior Infant and Nursery School and was going home to make tea. A local worker called it a ‘terrible tragedy and a freak accident’.
The unnamed man said: ‘You couldn’t re-create what happened if you tried. Shabana was a bubbly, friendly lady who loved her kids. We are all in shock and even grown men were in tears.’
The sound of the impact brought neighbours and passers-by running to help. Two builders working on the house next to Mrs Ahmed’s sprinted down the road and an off-duty nurse gave first aid.
Paramedics and doctors were called to the scene but Mrs Ahmed had suffered fatal internal injuries.
The local worker said: ‘Shabana was just rushing back from school to cook the builders next door some tea. That’s the kind of person she was. She wouldn’t have heard the van coming but saw it at the last second and shielded her kids. She probably saved their lives.’
It’s believed the builders pulled the van away. The man said: ‘I don’t know where they got the strength from. The little girl who wasn’t injured clung onto one of the builders for two hours. It was awful.’
‘She was really popular around here and I really feel for her husband. I have told him whatever he needs there are people round here to help. It’s such a tragedy’
Chris Cain, 32, neighbour
Flowers and cards were placed at the spot where she died. One read: ‘I will never forget you. You are always in my heart.’ Another said: ‘Life is so cruel and yesterday you were taken so unfairly.’
Neighbour, father-of-one Chris Cain, 32, who lives with partner Lyndsey, 27, said: ‘They were always such a happy family and Shabana was a really generous person. She would always bring food round.
‘She was really popular around here and I really feel for her husband. I have told him whatever he needs there are people round here to help. It’s such a tragedy.’
Neighbour Fatima Patel, 34, said: ‘Shabana was a great mum and loved her kids. It’s just so, so sad.’