BREAKING: Motorist accused of deaths of two Preston women appears in dock

Rachel Murphy
Rachel Murphy

The motorist accused of causing the deaths of two young Preston women has made his first appearance in court in an emotion fuelled hearing.

The public gallery at Preston Magistrates' Court was packed out as family and friends of Shelby Maher and Rachel Murphy attended the hearing.

Shelby Maher

Shelby Maher

The friends were killed when a BMW ploughed into them as they made their way across the A59 to cool off in the River Ribble.

Rachel, 23, and Shelby, 17, were among five pals crossing the busy road in Preston, at 6.40pm on April 20 last year when the accident happened.

Muhammed Salman Patel, 25, of St Michael’s Road, Blackburn, was summonsed to court on two counts of causing death by dangerous driving - just over a year after the incident on Brockholes Brow.

Rachel died at the scene just a five-minute walk from her home.

Shelby was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

Security guards stood at the back of the courtroom as emotions ran high.

He did not enter any pleas.

The district judge sent the case to Preston Crown Court where he will appear on June 20 for a plea and case management hearing.