CCTV shows teen committed two hit and run crimes

Michael Johnson knocked down Trevor Hadlow Credit: Kent Police

A teenager who ran an elderly Medway man over after being disturbed by him at the scene of a crime has admitted to causing his death.

Michael Johnson, 18, of Warden Road, Sheppey, knocked 70-year-old Trevor Hadlow down as he attempted to stop him leaving the farm where he lived in Capstone Road, Gillingham, on Sunday 20 November 2016.

Mr Hadlow walked back to his caravan minutes after the incident, where he later collapsed and died from his injuries. He was discovered two days later by the owner of the farm.

Through an extensive analysis of CCTV footage, automatic number plate recognition and mobile telephone data, officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate were able to prove it was Johnson who had driven the vehicle in question.

He was arrested and charged with Mr Hadlow’s death, and later pleaded guilty to causing his manslaughter whilst committing the theft of a trailer.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how Johnson drove a white Peugeot Expert van onto the farm shortly after 7.30pm before attempting to leave about a minute later with a trailer attached.

Trevor Hadlow died of injuries sustained two days previous Credit: Kent Police

Mr Hadlow, who lived and worked on the site as a handyman, had noticed the vehicle and closed the gate in an attempt to stop it from leaving. Instead the van was driven straight into him, knocking him down before it exited the farm.

Coincidentally the vehicle driven by Johnson had been seized by local patrols on Lower Road, Eastchurch, about an hour after Mr Hadlow had been knocked down.

The investigation team were then able to track the movements of the vehicle and gather CCTV evidence of Johnson getting in or out of the driver’s side door on a number of occasions, including on the afternoon of the incident that led to Mr Hadlow’s death.

While in custody, officers established that Johnson matched the description of a man who had run a traffic warden over in High Street, Eastchurch, on Friday 8 July 2016.

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A witness appeal had been issued for that particular offence just two days before Johnson’s arrest, which included a CCTV still and video footage captured on the victim’s body worn camera.

On 26 April 2017 Johnson was found guilty of dangerous driving and not guilty of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, in relation to the incident involving the traffic warden.

This trial followed his earlier guilty plea for the manslaughter of Mr Hadlow, which could not be reported until the conclusion of the second case.

He will be sentenced on 16 June 2017.

"I am very proud of all the officers who worked on this case, who built an exceptionally strong collection of evidence against Johnson and left him with little choice but to admit he was responsible for causing Mr Hadlow’s death. I would also like to pay tribute to the officers who seized the vehicle in question without knowing anything about the incident, instead relying on their intuition and good old-fashioned police work to know the person driving it had been up to no good."

– Detective Sergeant Adam Marshall of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate