A driver who deliberately knocked down and killed a Coventry cyclist in a road rage attack was jailed for life yesterday after a jury took just 41 minutes to convict him unanimously of murder.
The judge at Warwick Crown Court ordered Sean Fitzgerald, who claimed the collision with the cyclist Paul Webb was an accident, to serve at least 13 years before being considered for parole.
As we reported at the beginning of the six-day trial, the court heard that Fitzgerald, 36, used his car as a weapon to target Mr Webb after the cyclist damaged his wing mirror and pedalled away from the scene of the initial collision.
Fitzgerald, of Bennetts Road North, Coventry, pulled over at the side of the road after the first incident, but then chased and rammed Mr Webb's mountain bike, catapulting him into a wall near a pub.
Mr Webb, a 42-year-old warehouse worker, died at the scene in Bennetts Road South, Coventry, on April 16 last year, after suffering a catalogue of fractures and internal injuries.
The Independent reported that in a statement read to the court on the second day of Fitzgerald's trial, forensic pathologist James Lucas said all of Mr Webb's left ribs were found to be fractured after his death.
Dr Lucas, who conducted a post-mortem examination on April 17, recorded the cause of Mr Webb's death as multiple injuries sustained in a collision.
The most serious of the injuries, the court heard, involved Mr Webb's chest area and included seven lung punctures and a tear in his main artery.
A court official confirmed that Fitzgerald had been convicted of murder and that no verdict had been taken on an lesser alternative charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
In a statement issued after the end of the trial, a spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The jury convicted the defendant after trial.
"We are pleased with the result and our thoughts are very much with the family of the deceased."
Speaking to the Daily Mail at the trial's conclusion Mr Webb's partner of 11 years, Nadia Wazea, said: 'Paul was kind, considerate, easy going and the kind of person who people admired and looked to for support.
'I sincerely believe that this was not Paul's time to leave the earth. Together we've been denied the lives together and plans we had.'
Detective Inspector Wendy Bailey, of West Midlands Police, said: 'Sean Fitzgerald was an arrogant man who persisted in trying to make it look like this was an accident.
'At no time during the proceedings did he show the slightest remorse for Mr Webb. He is now in his rightful place which in prison.'