The driver of a car who caused the death of a "caring and loving" woman was travelling at more than twice the speed limit.

Sarah Holden, 47, was behind the wheel of her Audi A1 at around 1.35am on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 when she crashed into a wall in Holcombe Brook.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Monday heard Holden was driving on Bolton Road West with her friend, 36-year-old Marukh Aslam, from Radcliffe, in the passenger seat when she lost control of the vehicle at a bend.

The court heard that the pair were travelling from Holden’s then home in Ramsbottom to Bolton when the crash happened at around 1.35am

Prosecutor Charlotte Rimmer said Holden had been travelling at somewhere between 63 and 71mph as she approached the bend, more than double the maximum speed limit of 30mph.

Ms Rimmer said Marukh had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and was thrown out of the vehicle. She was pronounced dead from her injuries at the scene.

Both an eyewitness who spoke to Holden at the scene and an attending police officer reported a "strong smell of alcohol" on her breath.

The court heard that Holden then spat at and verbally abused the attending officer, before being taken to Salford Royal Hospital where she continued to verbally abuse medical staff.

Hospital staff were forced to pin Holden down to administer a sedative.

She refused to give consent for blood samples to be taken for analysis.

The grandmother and mother of two, now aged 47, pleaded guilty to one count of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of racially aggravated assault ahead of a scheduled trial.

Six members of Marukh's family appeared in court for the sentencing.

The prosecution read victim impact statements from a number of Ms Aslam’s family members, who told the court they “missed her so much".

Bury Times: Marukh AslamMarukh Aslam (Image: Family handout)

One family member said the day she died “was the worst day of her life".

“She loved us all so much,” she said.

“She was always there for us, she was so happy, she was taken too early.”

Marukh’s half-sister said she “was loving, caring and always helping others".

“The best years of my life were spent with Marukh,” her niece said.

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Stuart Neil, defending, said Holden, has shown remorse had no previous convictions. He added that she had found employment at a Rochdale care home.

He said: “She is a caring person and is loved by most of the people who meet her, what happened on the night in question was wholly out of character.

“When she says she lives through this she is telling the truth.”

In her a letter addressed to Marukh's family, Holden said she was “so, so sorry” and that the incident “haunts me in my sleep every night, no matter what I do, these thoughts will never go away".

Judge Mark Savill said only Holden was responsible for the excessive speeds she had travelled, which caused her to lose control of the car. However, he accepted she had been of previous good character.

He sentenced Holden, of Rochdale Hay Lane, Rochdale, to eight years in prison and disqualified her from driving for a minimum of nine years.

Judge Savill said: “Nothing I say at sentence at the court will do anything to relieve the appalling suffering and anguish the death of Marukh Aslam has caused her family and friends.

“One day you will be released from custody, however, the impact of your behaviour on her friends and family is irreversible. There will never be a release for them.”