Man jailed for manslaughter of Bedfordian following drugs robbery

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Karan Soni (Image: Bedfordshire Police)

A man who left another man for dead in a hit-and-run collision following a drugs robbery has been jailed for more than 10 years.

Tola Piper, 34, from Bedford, suffered fatal injuries after being hit and run over by a car driven by 27-year-old Karan Soni last year in Dewsbury Road, Luton.

A jury heard that the offender was in pursuit of the deceased following a robbery of cocaine and cash.

A machete was also found nearby, along with a Vauxhall badge identified from the car driven by Soni, 27, of Birchwood Avenue, Hatfield.

The court heard that Mr Piper was running alongside a silver Nissan Micra when Soni’s black Vauxhall Insignia drove behind them and hit the victim before colliding with the Micra.

Enquiries identified Soni as the registered driver of the Insignia.

When the vehicle was seized by police, it was found that the Vauxhall badge was missing and had suffered damage to its offside panel, which was consistent with it colliding with the Micra.

Soni was arrested the day after the collision and subsequently charged with murder at the time of arrest, before later being found guilty of manslaughter.

On Friday (25 November) Soni was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for manslaughter.

He will serve additional 16-month and 18-month sentences for two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, which will run consecutively, making his jail term a total of 10 years and four months.

Detective Chief Inspector Sam Khanna from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, which led the investigation, said: “I believe that the manslaughter conviction and subsequent sentences that Mr Soni has received will hopefully bring some solace to the Piper family after what has been a tragic and difficult time.

“I’d like to acknowledge and thank the members of the public who offered their assistance to the deceased and to Bedfordshire Police as we navigated this investigation. Such selflessness and bravery make crime investigations more thorough.”

Detective Inspector Tom Stean, from Bedfordshire Police’s Boson guns and gangs team, added: “We see time and time again the links between violence, exploitation and organised crime fuelled by drugs. This extreme and brazen violence has played out in broad daylight. It is completely unacceptable.

“Anyone involved in the illegal drugs trade should be under no illusion of the significant risks they face, be it getting hurt themselves or going to prison for a very long time.