Life sentence for Nottinghamshire road murder


A man who deliberately ran over and killed a cyclist who was in a relationship with his ex-partner has pleaded guilty to murder and today been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 25 years.

Richard Pencott was riding his bicycle along Blyth Road in Harworth, Nottinghamshire, when Sam Spaven, driving at speed in the opposite direction, mounted the pavement and collided with him head on. Mr Pencott tragically died at the scene from head and chest injuries. Spaven left the scene without stopping or looking for help.

Spaven had been contacting his ex-partner since their relationship had ended, initially to attempt reconciliation, but had becoming increasingly abusive each time he contacted her despite her asking him to stop. Shortly before the murder she had begun a relationship with Mr Pencott. Before the attack, Spaven had made threats concerning Mr Pencott and had put posts on social media complaining at how they had broken his family apart.

Spaven initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to Guilty on the first day of his trial.

Janine Smith, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands said: "Richard Pencott's murder is a tragedy for everyone who knew him. He had done nothing wrong but was targeted because of his relationship with this defendant's ex-partner.

"Sam Spaven would not accept that his relationship with his ex-partner was over, so, consumed by jealousy, planned and carried out a cold-blooded attack on the man he perceived as his rival. He knew when and where Mr Pencott would be cycling home from work and even made threats that he was going to do it. Then after the attack he just went to work and carried on as if nothing had happened.

"Despite the evidence from people who had witnessed the threats and the damage to his car, Spaven still pleaded not guilty. However, in the face of overwhelming evidence, including additional material uncovered shortly before the trial, he finally acknowledged his guilt.

"Sam Spaven has shown a dangerous level of premeditation in his actions and has taken the life of an innocent man. I would like to express my deepest sympathies to Mr Pencott's family and loved ones at this difficult time."