Man used van as 'weapon' to kill ambulance worker outside Bay Horse Inn, trial hears

Off-duty ambulance worker Sheldon Flanighan died at the scene outside the Bay Horse Inn, in Cramlington. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees/Northumbria Police

A driver allegedly wielded his transit van like a “weapon“ in a Northumberland pub car park - knocking down and killing an off duty ambulance worker.

Toby Kelly has gone on trial at Newcastle Crown Court accused of revving the engine of his vehicle and making threats before driving at Sheldon Flanighan.

The court was told on Wednesday 11 October that Kelly drove at another man too that night in April - leaving him with potentially life-threatening injuries.

The 38-year-old, of Wansbeck Avenue, Blyth, who was apprehended after a police pursuit, denies two charges - one of murder and one of attempted murder.

The court heard that a witness that night heard threats coming from the van window in the car park at the Bay Horse Inn, in Cramlington. about the alleged victims “never seeing your family again”.

Prosecution lawyer Christopher Tehrani KC told the jury that Kelly was “using his van as a weapon” and “telegraphing what he was about to do………namely run people down”.

It is claimed Kelly then reversed over 55-year-old Mr Flanighan before driving forward over him again.

Mr Tehrani told the jury to “take a deep breath” before showing them images detailing his injuries which included fractures and a dislocation to his skull.

Mr Flanighan was pronounced dead at the scene where one of the paramedics who attended had apparently recognised him as working for the ambulance service.

The victim's friend, Wayne Common, who it is claimed had also been knocked down by Kelly, survived after being treated for injuries to his ribs and spleen. His injuries, the court was told, could have killed him.

Opening the prosecution case, Mr Tehrani said the “flame that lit the fire” that night was when sometime shortly before 10pm, Kelly, his girlfriend and another man with them had been refused more drinks by bar staff at the Bay Horse Inn.

His girlfriend was, the jury heard, annoyed by this and reacted by pouring drinks and smashing glasses over the floor behind the bar.

The court heard Kelly was then seen on CCTV grappling with her on the floor.

It is alleged a witness had seen Mr Flanighan and his friend step in, telling Kelly’s group they should not hit a woman.

Mr Tehrani told the jury that it may have been the case, “though we would never know for certain“, that Mr Flanighan and his friend went outside to stop Kelly driving any vehicle away given the amount of alcohol he had consumed.

"Or alternatively, you may think that Mr Flanighan and Mr Common went outside in the car park because they were concerned for Shannon Wooden's safety," Mr Tehrani continued.

Kelly denies the charges against him and told police in an interview that he did not realise he had struck anyone that night and had left because he had become worried for his own safety.

The trial continues on Monday 16 October.

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