Getaway driver admits killing costume designer

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A getaway driver accused of deliberately running down a BBC costume designer outside Euston railway station on Easter Monday pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday.

But Mark Woolley, 35, a plasterer and tiler from Pentonville, north London had his plea rejected at the Old Bailey and will face murder charges at a trial on 3 December.

Mr Woolley's counsel, Michael Magarian, said: "By that plea, he clearly accepts he is the driver and wishes to make it publicly known he accepts responsibility for causing the death of this lady.

"He accepts that the manner in which he drove the car caused her death. He strenuously denies he had the intent to murder but he wanted to make it clear his acknowledgement of causing the death."

Elizabeth Sherlock was hit by a car after chasing thieves who had snatched her handbag as she sat at a café at the railway station. The bag contained about £20.

The co-defendant, Jackie Moorhouse, 23, from Islington, north London admitted theft of the handbag but denied manslaughter and murder.

Mrs Sherlock and her husband, Peter, 48, were sitting in a station coffee shop on 16 April waiting for a train to the North-west, where they were going to visit relatives, when the black Mulberry handbag was taken. Mrs Sherlock, of Chiswick, west London, chased the two thieves through the concourse for about 250 yards. The pair got into a battered white Ford Fiesta car and Mrs Sherlock jumped on the bonnet. She fell and was crushed under the wheels of the car. She died in hospital several hours later of internal injuries.

Two firemen arriving for their shift at Euston fire station witnessed the incident and tried to give first aid. One tried to stop the car by hurling his helmet at its windscreen.

The two defendants were arrested three days later after police examination of CCTV footage from the Euston area and a number of telephone calls from the public.

At a press conference, Mr Sherlock, a computer programmer, said his wife, who worked on BBC programmes and the Royal Variety Performance, had acted instinctively when she gave chase to the muggers "out of a sense of right and wrong".