A stockbroker has been sacked, and is being investigated by police after tweeting “Think I just hit a cyclist. But Im late for work so had to drive off lol.” He later issued an apology and claimed the tweet was a “bad joke”, but Avon and Somerset police have appealed for witnesses to the alleged hit and run nonetheless.
Rayhan Qadar tweeted the joke to his 1,306 followers under the name “Ray Pew” at 8.30am on Monday morning, as he was heading in to his work at the Bristol offices of financial firm Hargreaves Lansdown. It was retweeted 152 times, the Telegraph has reported.
But fellow Twitter users failed to see the humour, rounding on Mr Qadar. Twitter user Marc Etches said: “Some people don’t deserve to be on our roads. You obviously don’t have a brain as you actually tweeted this to the world. #getready.”
Matt Morrison wrote: “I can hear the sound of all the screengrabs from here.” And fellow Tweeter Annabel Staff said: “Dear oh dear, you ignorant p***k, hopefully you won’t have a job to get to by the end of the day, enjoy going to court #Scum.”
Indeed he did not. A few hours after the joke tweet, Qadar again took to Twitter to clarify: “My previous tweet about the cyclist was obviously not true. I did not hit cyclist. Not today. Not ever. A bad joke on my part it seems.”
Two minutes later he added: “Sorry if anyone thought I actually hit a cyclist. Anyone who follows me on Twitter know 99% of the things I tweet is nonsense.”
Nonetheless, his bosses at Hargreaves Lansdown sacked him shortly afterwards. A spokesman for the firm said “One of our employees has failed to conduct themselves to the standards we expect of our staff. We find these online comments totally unacceptable. Upon becoming aware of this issue we have terminated this person’s employment with immediate effect.”
The Police also felt the matter deserved consideration, with Manchester Police reaching out to Mr Qadar via Twitter to say “If you hit a cyclist, you are obliged to stop,” adding “I suggest you call 101 as soon as possible, I will forward the details on.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Somerset and Avon police, which covers Mr Qadar’s place of residence, have confirmed they are investigating the tweet despite his retraction, saying “We are aware of a tweet regarding a collision between a cyclist and a car. We are looking into it and we’re asking for witnesses to come forward.”
However, a friend, who was not willing to be named, was willing to defend him saying that the tweet was “clearly a joke”, and that “He’s genuinely a really nice guy.”
Mr Qadar refused to comment.