Northumberland ambulance worker died after getting mowed down by van, jurors hear

The man stepped in to prevent a disturbance outside a pub before being deliberately run over, it is claimed.

Newcastle Crown Court. Newcastle Crown Court.
Newcastle Crown Court.

An off-duty ambulance worker sustained catastrophic and unsurvivable injuries when he was mowed down by a van after he stepped in to prevent a disturbance outside a pub, murder jurors have heard.

Sheldon Flanighan had been socialising with his pal Wayne Common on Saturday April 1 this year at the Bay Horse Inn in Cramlington, Northumberland, when the pair were deliberately run over by Toby Kelly, it is claimed.

Prosecutors say that Kelly struck Mr Flanighan by reversing over him, before going on to strike him again by driving forwards onto his body.

Paramedics rushed to the scene but the 55-year-old, who worked for the North East Ambulance Service, was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr Common suffered life-threatening injuries but survived.

Kelly, 38, of Wansbeck Avenue, Blyth, denies murder and attempted murder and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court. The court was today (WEDS) played CCTV showing Mr Flanighan and Mr Common arriving at the pub earlier in the evening with another friend Kevin Patterson. The men were just metres away from Kelly, his partner Shannon Wooden, and their friend David Fairclough, who had been drinking inside the bar for several hours.

The court heard that the three had been told by staff they’d no longer be served alcohol which led to Ms Wooden smashing a number of glasses on the floor in frustration.

Footage then showed Kelly engaging in an altercation with Ms Wooden inside the bar with the pair grappling with each other on the floor.

Jurors heard that Kelly was later seen dragging her out of the pub by her legs towards the car park. This led to Mr Flanighan and Mr Common also leaving the pub, and entering the car park, the court was told.

Shortly afterwards, CCTV captured the van being driven erratically moments before it struck the two men.

Prosecutor Christopher Tehrani KC told the jury: “Shortly after 10pm on the evening of the 1st of April of this year, in the car park of a public house called the Bay Horse Inn in Cramlington, a 55-year-old man named Sheldon Flanighan was run over by a Ford Transit van and was killed.

“Another 55-year-old man named Wayne Common, Sheldon Flanighan’s friend, was also run over and suffered serious injuries but fortunately survived.

“The driver of the van at the time these two men were run down is the man you see in the dock. His name is Toby Kelly.

“You will hear evidence this Ford Transit van, driven by the defendant, when reversing, knocked Sheldon Flanighan down and then was placed in forward gear and drove over him again.

“The prosecution submit that the defendant knew exactly where Sheldon Flanighan was in relation to the van when he started his reverse maneuverer.”

Mr Flanighan suffered a catalogue of serious injuries including a severely fractured leg, over 30 broken ribs, and extensive fractures to the base of his skull.

Such was the extent of his head injuries, his skull had dislocated from the upper spinal column as well as suffering a tear to his brain stem.

Referring to Mr Common’s injuries, Mr Tehrani said: “The van was driven at Mr Common in a forward gear and knocked him down.

“The defendant then drove the van over him. Wayne Common also suffered extensive serious injuries. “His injuries included injuries to the back of his head and left elbow, a laceration to his spleen and fractures to four of his ribs on the left side.

“For reasons you will hear during the course of the evidence, the injury to the spleen and the rib fractures were considered life-threatening.”

Mr Tehrani added: “The prosecution submit that Sheldon Flanighan’s death and the injuries that Mr Common suffered, were not down to a terrible, unavoidable accident.

“Further, we submit that what happened to these two men was clearly unlawful and can in no way be described as lawful activity.

“The prosecution submits that the defendant knew exactly what he had done because he did not remain at the scene.

“He drove the van away.”

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The court was told that one witness, whose girlfriend worked inside the Bay Horse Inn, heard the two victims approach the defendant to say he should not hit a woman.

Mr Tehrani added: “It may have been the case although we will never know for certain, that Wayne Common and Sheldon Flanighan went outside to either protest or prevent Mr Kelly driving any vehicle away given the amount of alcohol he 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.”

The vehicle was pursed by a police car and was later discovered nearby.

The court heard that Ms Wooden and Mr Fairclough are facing no charges, and the jury were told to focus on Kelly alone.

The trial continues.

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