Murder trial told road rage driver 'killed cyclist in revenge for clipping his wing mirror'

Fatal incident in Coventry was 'revenge attack'

by nick_rearden   April 29, 2010  

Gavel

A cyclist was knocked down and killed by an angry motorist after he accidentally clipped the driver’s wing mirror, a murder trial at the Crown Court in Warwick heard yesterday.

Sean Fitzgerald allegedly used his car to chase Paul Webb for 300 yards before mounting a pavement and ramming into his mountain bike in a revenge attack.

Prosecutors said Fitzgerald 'used his car like a weapon' to 'catapult' Mr Webb’s bicycle 25 yards into the air before fleeing the scene of the crash and leaving his victim for dead. Mr Webb, 42, who lived with his girlfriend of 11 years, died of massive internal injuries at the roadside.

According to today's Mail online Fitzgerald, a father of two, was later seen hosing down the front of his silver Ford Focus before driving it to a mechanic for repair hours after the crash, Warwick Crown Court was told.

James Burbidge QC, prosecuting, told the court Mr Webb was targeted after he knocked into Fitzgerald’s wing mirror while passing between the car and the kerb in a queue of traffic in Coventry on April 16 last year.

He said: ‘The defendant’s car had stopped directly behind a bin lorry which was on the road. Mr Webb cycled close to Mr Fitzgerald’s car and damaged the wing mirror.

Mr Webb cycled on to the pavement and was shaking his right arm as if it was hurt. ‘Mr Fitzgerald pursued Mr Webb and there was a collision. We say that was a deliberate act by Mr Fitzgerald. In effect Mr Fitzgerald pursued Mr Webb using his car as a weapon.’

The court heard there was a brief altercation after Mr Webb knocked Fitzgerald’s wing mirror and cycled off. Fitzgerald, 36, allegedly pursued Mr Webb for 70 yards along the road before opening his car door to confront him.

But Mr Webb cycled off again and Fitzgerald caught up with him once more before ramming into the back of his bike, it was alleged. Mr Burbidge said: ‘Mr Webb was catapulted back into the windscreen before being catapulted again into a set of wheelie bins and then a garden wall.’

Passers-by saw the force of the impact send Mr Webb’s mountain bike flying before landing 25 yards away, the court heard. Bin man Brian Butler, who heard Mr Webb bump into the wing mirror, told the court: ‘The silver car [driven by Fitzgerald] zipped past us. 'He wanted to chase him. He wasn’t going to let the cyclist get away.

Mr Webb died at the scene despite attempts to revive him. Fitzgerald drove back to his home and asked his neighbour if they knew anyone who could repair the car, the jury was told. Mr Burbidge said: ‘A neighbour saw the defendant with a watering hose bending down by the nearside of the car. We say he was attempting to remove evidence of what he had done.'

Fitzgerald, a factory worker, handed himself in to police and admitted colliding with Mr Webb. He denies one charge of murder and another of causing death by dangerous driving.

The trial continues.

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From the April 21st 2009 report in the Coventry Telegraph;

"Andrew Mithie, defending, said: “This gentleman was driving from Bennetts Road North into the city centre along Bennetts Road South when there was contact by a cyclist with his nearside wing mirror.
“He was upset about the damage and started to remonstrate with the cyclist who made off.
“This gentleman accepts that some distance away there was contact and it seems that it probably was the same individual, but he’s not sure if it was or not.”"

The driver needs locking up for a LONG time.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [413 posts]
29th April 2010 - 9:38

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"He denies one charge of murder and another of causing death by dangerous driving."

Sad

Isn't there a charge also for leaving the scene of an [on purpose] accident?

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
29th April 2010 - 9:39

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This bastard needs to be buggered to within an inch of his life, for the rest of his life in gaol.

----------------------------------------

Any motorist who causes death or serious injury to a pedestrian or cyclist [unless there's strong evidence to prove it was the cyclist's / pedestrian's fault] needs to be taken off the road for good. No more driving licence - ever!

posted by Recumbenteer [138 posts]
29th April 2010 - 10:03

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Cyclist casualty maps of Great Britain 2000 to 2008

Regional and London are available, see text.

http://www.citybeast.com/cyclingsafetypage.html

posted by Recumbenteer [138 posts]
29th April 2010 - 10:04

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Murder, end of story. He should spend the rest of this rotten life in jail! Angry

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

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posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
29th April 2010 - 10:05

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The Telegraph has a more balanced report on this. The DM slightly puts part of the blame on the cyclist by saying "he rode off".

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
29th April 2010 - 10:10

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How much damage to a car mirror warrants the killing of the cyclist?
The attacker has anger management issues. A 20 year stretch might address those.
I am curious how he can deny death by dangerous driving. Someone died. He was driving.
It'll be interestng to follow the case in court.
I wonder if the driver will apologise to the victim's partner? I wonder how the victim's family feel about this?

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1941 posts]
29th April 2010 - 11:06

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The Daily Mail has issues. So if they're saying the cyclist was partly to blame, then they'd accept that when they accidentally catch someone's shoulder walking down the street the person who runs after them & kills them wasn't totally to blame? You deliberately injure or kill someone you have no excuse. I can see however that it may not have been planned. People who let anger run their lives tend to be controlled by it. I would guess it's been an issue for years for that driver.

Totally feel for the victim's family. Hope the outcome of the case helps them in dealing with it all rather than make things worse.

posted by 0range5 [6 posts]
29th April 2010 - 11:13

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Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1778 posts]
29th April 2010 - 13:01

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I fear I will be disappointed. He'll get a suspended sentence and a one year ban...

My confidence in the justice system is low.

Bring me sunshine, and dry roads

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posted by MalcolmBinns [107 posts]
29th April 2010 - 19:46

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crying shame....kill someone with a car and odds are you'll only get a couple of years. i hope this guy rots in jail for the rest of his life, they could do worst than giving him some rope and leaving alone for a while!

posted by mrchrispy [266 posts]
30th April 2010 - 9:36

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I thought this was the incident in New Parks Boulevard Leicester, where the Police arrested the driver and charged them with murder, so was this a preceding motorist murder case?

If so do we see either a turning of the tide with CPS clearly recognising the intent of a driver's action in some crashes?

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [431 posts]
30th April 2010 - 18:56

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A V Lowe wrote:
I thought this was the incident in New Parks Boulevard Leicester, where the Police arrested the driver and charged them with murder, so was this a preceding motorist murder case?

If so do we see either a turning of the tide with CPS clearly recognising the intent of a driver's action in some crashes?

There seems to be no information out there about the specific circumstances of the Leicester case, we did ask the police at the time but got referred to their statement which gave no background, so we'll have to wait until that goes to trial to find out exactly why the murder charge was brought.

The case in this article results from an incident last year and it could be that the time and distance between the initial contact and the cyclist being killed, not to mention the force of the impact when the driver caught the victim, explain the murder charge, as well as the presence of witnesses.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7484 posts]
30th April 2010 - 23:55

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Sentence has been passed (sorry for linking to the Mail);

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1274591/Jailed-life-The-driver-m...

"The 36-year-old was found guilty of murder and causing death by dangerous driving.

Yesterday at Warwick Crown Court Judge Richard Griffiths-Jones ordered Fitzgerald - who had no insurance or driving licence - to serve a minimum of 13 years in prison."

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

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posted by John_the_Monkey [413 posts]
7th May 2010 - 23:47

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'kin excellent result but I'm afraid he's not a typical driver - four wheel types will look at him and think "no license no insurance what do you expect? I'm not like that"

We know differently.

posted by TchmilFan [17 posts]
8th May 2010 - 1:27

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Just doing the separate story now - Press Association's Matthew Cooper has some good quotes although, sadly, nothing that will change the horror of it all.

posted by nick_rearden [858 posts]
8th May 2010 - 9:08

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