Driver gets life term for cyclist murder

A driver who deliberately knocked down and killed a cyclist in a road rage attack was jailed for life today after being convicted of murder, court officials said.

A judge at Warwick Crown Court ordered Sean Richard Fitzgerald, who claimed the collision with Paul Webb was an accident, to serve at least 13 years before being considered for parole.



A six-day trial 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, Keresley End, 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.



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.



In his statement, Dr Lucas also confirmed that he had identified damage to the liver and various fractures of the skull, shoulder blade, pelvis and spine.



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."



During the trial, work-mates Craig Cheshire and Michael Bogusz told the court they went to the scene of the collision after hearing the fatal impact.



The men, who were working on the driveway at a nearby property, saw Mr Webb pedal past and then heard the sound of a car.



Mr Cheshire told the jury he heard "the roar of an engine" shortly after recognising Mr Webb, whom he used to work with.



Giving evidence, Mr Cheshire said he then heard what sounded like a "clatter of bins" and that his first thought was that there had been an accident.



Mr Bogusz said of the passing car: "The noise it was making, it was travelling - travelling at a speed.



"We both looked at each other said 'What the hell was that?' Then shortly after that there was a large noise like metal hitting metal.



"I thought he had put it (the car) into a bus shelter."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee