A taxi-driver who left a soldier to die on a country road just weeks after he had returned from a tour of Iraq walked free from court today.Michael Dixon had survived six months on the dangerous streets of Basra after being sent to the war-torn city straight after finishing his training.

But just a day after proudly taking part in a passing-out parade back at his UK base the 19-year-old private was run over by Mohammed Razzaq.

Tragic: Michael Dixon 19, was run over and killed after returning from Basra

He was walking along the A606 near Empingham, Rutland, heading back to his barracks after a night out, when he was hit by Razzaq’s cab.

A court heard how two cars had already swerved to avoid the teenager, who was strolling near the grass verge in the early hours of the morning.

But Razzaq, 36, ploughed straight into him with such force that the headlight and side mirror of his cab were destroyed by the force of the impact.

Despite that, the father-of-four only stopped briefly further down the road to wind down his window and listen out for noises – and then drove off.

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Driver: Mohammed Razzaq walks free from Melton Mowbray Magistrates Court today

Pte Dixon, from Carlisle, who served with the King’s Own Royal Borders, was found dead the following morning, around eight hours after the smash.

Earlier this year Razzaq was convicted of driving without due care attention, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.

Today magistrates in Melton Mowbray, Leics, sentenced him to six months’ jail but suspended the term for two years, allowing him to walk free.

Speaking outside court, Pte Dixon’s distraught mother Kim Dixon, 47, slammed the decison and branded Razzaq’s behaviour “inhumane”.

She said: “Nothing that happened today could bring Michael back. We just wanted Razzaq to act companssionately – but he never has.

“We have lost Michael’s future, his life and the family he would have had. We can’t began to put into words what his death has done to our lives.

“Michael was just left like a piece of debris, to be found by a stranger, dying or dead – and that’s the hardest thing for us to have to live with.

Razzaq’s actions were not those of a person who has a family. He knew he had hit someone. A hit-and-run is not the action of a caring person.”

The accident happened six weeks after Pte Dixon returned from Iraq and just a day after his regiment celebrated the creation of its new identity.

Pte Dixon took part in the parade, held at St George’s Barracks in Edith Weston, Leics, to mark the birth of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

His mother added: “Michael went straight from his training to Iraq. We never even got a chance to ask him about his experiences over there.

“When he joined the army he found his direction and had a great career ahead of him. Now we have to live with our own life sentence every day.”

Razzaq, of Peterborough, Cambs, was finally traced by police after he took his taxi to a garage for repairs following the smash on July 9 last year.

When quizzed he said he thought he had hit an animal and claimed he made a point of stopping his car and listening for any sounds before driving on.

But magistrates ruled his actions did not constitute stopping at the scene and said he had “closed his mind to the seriousness of the accident”.

Mark Williams, prosecuting, told the court: “Michael was young, and his life was tragically taken. Pte Dixon’s family speak of great loss and outrage.”

Razzaq was also banned from the roads for two years, ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and given five penalty points on his licence.

Passing sentence, chairman of the bench Michael Parkes admitted: “We have never been in a more difficult situation than we are today.

“We have listened to a lot of evidence and are aware of the expectations from the deceased’s family and from Mr Razzaq’s family.”

He told Razzaq: “Because of your previous good character, family circumstances and emotional state, we are going to suspend the sentence.”

Mohammed Latif, in mitigation, said Razzaq had come to the UK from Kashmir in 1991 and had worked as taxi-driver for the past five years.

He added: “No apology can demonstrate the true anguish he feels towards Mr Dixon’s family. He knows that can never replace the loss of life.

“He continues to have sleepless nights, thinking time and again about what happened, and this will no doubt live with him for the rest of his life.”

Det Insp Andy Lee, who investigated the crash, said after the hearing: “Michael Dixon was a young soldier who had served his country in Iraq.

“It was by some cruel twist of fate that he survived his tour of duty there, only to lose his life on a quiet country road near Empingham.”

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