A hit-and-run driver who killed a young motorcyclist and also robbed the home of two elderly victims has been jailed.

Police say when “habitual criminal” Danny Smith was identified through a sketch, he was given no choice but to plead guilty to 13 offences before being handed a 24-year prison sentence and a similar length driving ban.

Smith, of Manford Way, Chigwell, had been charged with death by dangerous driving after he struck 20-year-old Saleem Ahmed in Hainault Road, near the A12 in Redbridge, on December 17 last year.

Disqualified driver Smith was driving a grey Audi TT at around 9.20pm when he attempted to overtake two cars in front of him, before colliding with a Yamaha motorcycle being ridden by Mr Ahmed.

Mr Ahmed, who was making his way home after spending time with his brother in Romford, was left with catastrophic injuries. He was helped by members of the public and paramedics but died at the scene.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Victim Saleem Ahmed. Image: Metropolitan PoliceVictim Saleem Ahmed. Image: Metropolitan Police (Image: Image: Metropolitan Police)

Smith had run from the scene and an investigation began straight away to hunt him down.

Police were given an idea of their suspect after a witness drew a sketch of a man they had seen driving erratically in the same Audi around 30 minutes before the crash.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: A sketch drawn by a witness of an man they had seen driving an Audi erratically. Image: Metropolitan PoliceA sketch drawn by a witness of an man they had seen driving an Audi erratically. Image: Metropolitan Police (Image: Metropolitan Police)

Smith would eventually be caught two months later. On February 7, he was spotted by police officers driving erratically. They signalled for him to stop but he reacted by reversing into the police vehicle.

With help from a dog unit, Smith and a passenger were detained inside the car.

Enquiries revealed the car was on false plates and had been stolen from a showroom in Romford two days earlier.

Smith, who was found with stolen items, was then detained in connection with the fatal collision back in December, with the witness sketch “bearing an uncanny resemblance” to him. Forensic evidence also placed him inside the Audi.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Danny Smith. Image: Metropolitan PoliceDanny Smith. Image: Metropolitan Police (Image: Metropolitan Police)

After sentencing on September 5, Mr Ahmed’s family, who paid tribute to those who tried to save their son’s life, said they had “fought hard” to ensure the killer was put behind bars.

They said in a statement: “My son was taken in such cruel circumstances, that for years to come it will affect us all as a family, our friends and our community.

“The support we as a family have had from the police throughout has been second to none. Nothing will ever bring Saleem back, but knowing that a dangerous criminal is back where he belongs and can no longer ruin other lives, which is what we fought so hard for.

“To my darling son, we love you forever.”

Smith was also sentenced for tricking his way into the home of an elderly woman in Havering on December 15, before pushing and threatening her and stealing cash and personal items.

He also stole cash from the home of an elderly man in Ilford on February 1.