Hamed freed early from dangerous driving sentence

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The Independent Online

The former world boxing champion "Prince" Naseem Hamed was released early from jail today after serving just 16 weeks of a 15-month sentence for dangerous driving.

Hamed seriously injured a 38-year-old man in a high-speed head-on collision near a blind dip in the road in his £320,000 Mercedes McLaren in May last year.

The sportsman said his heart went out to the victims and that he thanked God that nobody had died.

Last week Anthony Burgin, who suffered fractures to every major bone in his body in the crash, said he was very upset and shocked that Hamed was being released early.

Hamed, wearing a black leather jacket, was seen chatting and smiling with his brothers this morning shortly before his release.

A silver Rolls-Royce and a stretched Range Rover, with blacked-out windows, were waiting for him outside Moorland open prison in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

The 32-year-old left the jail at 8.15am, carrying two bags, which were placed in the waiting Rolls-Royce.

He then jogged back up the drive before slowing to a walk and raising his hand to wave.

Hamed then left through the entrance of the jail and said: "My heart goes out to the victims, obviously, Mr Burgin and his family."

He added he had missed the birth of his newborn baby.

"What can I say?" he said.

"It's been hard, but thank God nobody died."

Hamed will wear an electronic tag under the Home Office's Home Detention Curfew (HDC) scheme.

Sheffield Crown Court heard on May 12 that the former WBA world featherweight champion took a "stupid risk" while showing off his powerful sports car to a businessman and fellow motoring enthusiast.

Hamed, of Wyvern Gardens, Dore, Sheffield, was driving at a speed of at least 90mph on the wrong side of the carriageway as he approached the dip on Ringinglow Road, on the edge of the Peak District, in May last year.

The carbon-fibre supercar, with the registration plate NAS 1, was in a head-on collision with a Volkswagen Golf, driven by Mr Burgin, which was immediately stopped and propelled backwards by the impact.

Mr Burgin's wife, Clare, was also seriously injured in the crash.

The court heard that Michael Wood, the driver of a Ford Mondeo Hamed had tried to overtake, described the boxer's manoeuvre as "suicide".

Hamed left the crash scene because other drivers were horrified by what they had witnessed and Hamed feared an "ugly incident" might develop if he remained there.

The court heard that Hamed was previously banned from driving for three months in 1995 for speeding in excess of a 50mph limit.

He was also given three penalty points in 1998, six in 1999 and three more in 2004 for speeding in excess of 30mph, 40mph and 30mph limits respectively.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said today: "We do not comment on individual prisoners."