Lorry thief who mowed down delivery driver and left him for dead is jailed

Lorry thief who mowed down driver is jailed

Lorry thief who mowed down driver is jailed

First published in News
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Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A CALLOUS raider who mowed down a delivery driver with his own lorry during a botched hijack has been jailed.

David Fletcher has been left in a wheelchair with life-changing injuries after being targeted by Leonard Willsher, 41, last July.

At Basildon Crown Court yesterday, Willsher, of The Fremnells, Basildon, was caged for three years, eight months.

Martyn Levett, prosecuting, said Mr Fletcher, who owns a small delivery company, was dropping off goods in Wood Avenue, Purfleet.

He was at his customer’s front door when Willsher and an accomplice, who has never been caught, jumped into the cab of the sevenand- a-half tonne Mercedes and started driving away. Mr Fletcher ran after them and managed to jump on to the footplate. But Willsher opened the window and shoved him into the road, before running over his legs and torso.

The pair then leapt from the vehicle, wiped their fingerprints from the door and fled, leaving Mr Fletcher critically injured.

He was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, with a fractured spine, broken shoulder, fractured leg and compressed pelvis. He spent two weeks in an induced coma, and two months in hospital undergoing treatment and rehabilitation.

Despite Willsher’s efforts to wipe his prints, detectives discovered a scrap of DNA evidence on the driver’s door which they ran through the police computer.

Willsher was arrested, but still refuses to name his accomplice.

At an earlier hearing, Willsher admitted aggravated vehicle taking, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing grievous bodily harm without intent and driving while disqualified.

Lefi Tsiattalou, mitigating, said the incident was opportunistic and Willsher had not set out to harmMr Fletcher.

She said Willsher thought every day about the injuries he had caused.

Judge Owen Davies, QC, told him: “You caused great harm to Mr Fletcher through this incident of extraordinary irresponsibility, carelessness and callousness.

“You left a man seriously injured, having driven over him.

You did not lift a finger to help him. You displayed heartless irresponsibility.”

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