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Blyth man convicted for fatal van attack on off-duty ambulance worker

|News, Violent crime

A Blyth man has today been convicted for murder after the death of an off-duty ambulance worker, who he fatally struck with his van in the car park of a Northumberland pub.

Toby Kelly, 38, of Wansbeck Avenue, Blyth, was found guilty after trial of one charge of murder and one charge of attempted murder in relation to the tragic death of Sheldon Flanighan, 55, outside of the Bay Horse public house in Cramlington in April of this year. Mr Flanighan’s friend, Wayne Common, 55, was also struck by the van during the attack and sustained serious injuries.

The Court had previously heard how the two victims had been enjoying a quiet evening together at a local pub when trouble flared at the bar area. Kelly and two friends had been told by bar staff that they would not be served any more alcohol, which prompted the throwing and smashing of glasses by one member of the group. She was then restrained by Kelly, who grappled with her on the floor before dragging her outside.

The group boarded a blue transit van in the car park of the pub, driven by Kelly, who began driving towards Mr Flanighan and Mr Common, both of whom attempted to jump out of the vehicle’s path. The vehicle then struck Mr Flanighan, before reversing over him and striking Mr Common. The group then fled the scene in the van and were later arrested by police.

Lynsey Colling of the CPS said: “This was a tragic case involving the death and serious injury of two men who had been enjoying a quiet night at their local pub. After the commotion in the bar area, a number of patrons followed the group out into the car park, where the tragic events unfolded.

“Kelly had previously claimed that he only wanted to scare the two men, but the Crown Prosecution Service has worked closely with police to meticulously dismantle that defence. It is clear from the accounts of witnesses at the scene that Kelly was acting aggressively, with the clear intent of seriously inuring or killing both men.

“Our thoughts remain with Mr Common and the family of Mr Flanighan, for whom this remains a very difficult time. We hope that his conviction today brings some measure of comfort to them.”

Notes to editors

  • Toby Kelly will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday 15th November
  • Lynsey Colling is the Head of the Crown Court Unit at CPS North East.

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