Man who 'drove through' Grimsby cyclist in targeted attack jailed for 20 years for murder

Reece Braithwaite, who was killed in a targeted attack by Liam Boydell, inset, when he was cycling his bike Credit: MEN Media

The mother of a man who was mown down in a deliberate vigilante revenge attack says she cannot accept that he is dead.

Reece Braithwaite, 35, was sitting on his bike when he was targeted by Liam Boydell, who steered his car onto the pavement in order to "drive through" Mr Braithwaite.

Boydell's attack on Carnforth Crescent in Grimsby on 21 May was based on "completely unfounded rumours" spread by an associate.

Having made a decision "in the heat of the moment" to drive at his victim, 23-year-old Boydell sped off in his silver Vauxhall Crossland.

Later, as Mr Braithwaite lay critically injured in hospital, Boydell posted a laughing emoji on Facebook in response to a post by Mr Braithwaite's partner.

Mr Braithwaite suffered "massive and unsurvivable" brain injuries and died on 24 May, four days after the incident.

Boydell was arrested at his mother's home the following day. He made no comment to police questions during interview, though later admitted murder at Hull Crown Court.

This week he was jailed for life, and will have to serve at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

In a statement Dawn Clasper, Reece's mother, paid a heartbreaking tribute to her youngest child who she referred to as "the baby of the family".

Fighting back tears she told the court: "I don't think I have accepted he is dead.

"When I am alone, it just goes round and round in my head. I think about when they switched off his life support and we sat and waited for him to die."It felt so surreal."

She added: "Since he has died, I feel I have lost all the joy in my life."I know life will never be the same again. I wake up in the morning and he is the first thing that comes into my head. It then hits me he has gone and I have to pull myself together and put on a brave face and try to hold it together for the family."I feel like everything has gone. I have no emotion, just sadness.

"There are times when I feel like I am going mad with it all. I think about the way Reece died and I just feel an overwhelming sadness about what a waste of a life."

Richard Wright KC, prosecuting, said that Mr Braithwaite was riding a bicycle on Carnforth Crescent and had stopped, sitting on it on a footpath close to the junction with Chelmsford Avenue.

Liam Boydell, who has been jailed for 20 years Credit: MEN Media

Boydell had a passenger with him as they drove past Mr Braithwaite. After seeing the cyclist, Boydell deliberately drove back to make a second pass of him."This time, he steered his vehicle deliberately onto the pavement so that all four tyres were on the pavement and he was travelling at not less than 24mph and potentially as fast as 29mph," said Mr Wright."Without slowing in any way, he drove straight through the deceased, who was still sitting astride his bicycle. The massive impact propelled Reece onto the bonnet and the windscreen of the car, and then into the road."

Boydell drove away at speed and made no attempt to stop or give any assistance. He later accepted that he intended to cause harm.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics and surgeons, Mr Braithwaite suffered "massive and unsurvivable" brain injuries and he died on May 24.Boydell had deliberately targeted Mr Braithwaite as a result of completely unfounded rumours that had been put about by an associate of Boydell.

It was a "deliberate act of revenge" and he used the car as a weapon, having made a deliberate decision to return in the car for a second time.Mr Wright said: "The killing of Reece was a deliberate act of targeted vigilantism."

While Mr Braithwaite was critically ill in hospital, Boydell posted a laughing emoji on Facebook in response to a post from Mr Braithwaite's partner.

Boydell had previous convictions for aggravated vehicle taking, threatening behaviour, assault and possessing drugs.Mitigating, Peter Moulson KC, said that Boydell did not intend to kill Mr Braithwaite and he indicated a guilty plea at the first hearing before Hull Crown Court on 27 May.He said: "There was no significant degree of planning or premeditation. This was an act of retaliation, albeit in the heat of the moment."His mother contacted the police at his request after the incident.The laughing emoji was posted when Boydell did not know the extent of the injuries but it was an "isolated" incident of its type and he bitterly regretted it. He had written a letter of apology.Mr Moulson added: "He wishes to reiterate that apology and is determined by the remorse that he feels to become a better person in the future."Judge John Thackray KC said: "Reece Braithwaite was adored by many and his life was precious and priceless to his family members and friends.

"Their lives have been shattered and they will never recover from the devastation that you have caused."Judge Thackray said that he was satisfied that Boydell did not intend to kill Mr Braithwaite but the laughing emoji that he sent while the victim was "critically ill in hospital" made it difficult to believe that he was truly remorseful.

Boydell, of Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby, will not be considered for release until he has served a minimum of 20 years behind bars.Wearing a grey sweatshirt with a white motif and black, green-edged stripes down the sleeves, he looked upset and waved to supporters in the public gallery as he left the dock to be taken down to the cells, amid shouts of "Stay strong, love you, brother" from the public gallery.

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