Man jailed for manslaughter - Leighton Buzzard

14/02/2017

A traveller, whose van hit and killed a 6 foot 4 tall 20-stone 'Gentle Giant' was today, Tuesday, 14 February 2017, jailed for 10 years for manslaughter.

Banned driver Christopher McCarthy, aged 22, struck and dragged Patrick Maloney along the gravel of a vacant plot on a travellers' site, causing horrific fatal injuries.

There was a heavy police presence at Luton Crown Court for the trial, during which a jury heard there was a "simmering feud" between the McCarthy and Maloney families, who lived on the Greenacres and Toddbury Farm sites at Little Billington near Leighton Buzzard, Beds.

At 10.30pm on 2 August last year Thomas McCarthy and father-of-three Patrick Maloney, who was known as Pa, were involved in a confrontation near Mr Maloney's home. After Thomas left the scene with two teenagers, members of the Maloney family attacked his BMW X5 car.

Christopher McCarthy, who was asleep in front of the TV, was woken by his wife, who told him the Maloneys were killing his brother Thomas. He drove his roofing van to the scene where he saw Patrick Maloney attack the car his parents and sister were in.  Then he drove forward, steered to the right and struck Mr Maloney. The van hit him and dragged his body along the gravel on the vacant plot in a circular movement, before leaving the scene.

An ambulance was called and members of the Maloney family started to drive Patrick to hospital. They met the ambulance at the Shell garage near McDonalds on the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard, but there was nothing that could be done for him.

The van, which had damage from hitting two sets of gates and a vehicle belonging to the Maloney family, was found the next day abandoned six miles away at the New York Diner on Tring Road, Eaton Bray.

The court heard there was bad feeling between the two families after two younger boys had fought over a girl. On the night, it was alleged a laser light had been shone from the Maloney plot at the bedroom of a girl in the McCarthy family.

Yesterday, Monday, 13 February 2017, the jury cleared Christopher McCarthy, from the Greenacres site, of murder, but found him guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Maloney. The jury could not agree on a charge of actual bodily harm (ABH) against Thomas McCarthy, aged 24, also of Greenacres, who was accused of striking Mr Maloney in the minutes before he was killed.

At the sentencing hearing, Ann Evans, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said at the time of Mr Maloney's death Christopher McCarthy was banned from driving. He had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Lancaster in February last year. McCarthy was driving a black van that went through a red light and narrowly missed two women pedestrians crossing the road. He was banned for 15 months and fined £500.

In a witness impact statement read to the court, Patrick Maloney's wife said she and Patrick were inseparable. She said: "I loved my husband with all my heart. He had a smile for everyone. He was everyone's friend. People said he was a gentle giant." His son said his whole world fell apart when his father died in his arms. Referring to McCarthy in the statement he said: "You have ripped our lives apart. Nightmares wake me up at night."

Mrs Evans said that after consulting Mr Maloney's family, Thomas McCarthy will not face a retrial. The Judge entered a not guilty verdict on the ABH charge.

Judge Michael Kay QC told Christopher McCarthy: "I have no doubt you were able to see Patrick Maloney standing at the entrance to the plot. Instead of swerving to avoid him or to brake you drove straight at him. You did not take any evasive action. He was dragged 10 to 15 meters into the plot. You drove off in your van and abandoned it six miles away. You did not stop to see injuries you had caused or to help. This was a calculated, albeit split second, decision to drive at Patrick Maloney because you were angry at him for attacking your parents' vehicles. You could have reversed away from the scene. Through your reckless driving you have deprived his family of a much loved husband, son, father and brother."

In addition to the custodial sentence, the judge also banned Christopher McCarthy from driving for 9 and a half years starting from today, Tuesday, 14 February 2017.

Please note - all court copies are provided by South Beds News Agency, who retain the copyright for all articles published.