Pair jailed after car struck innocent pedestrian as driver pursued cyclist

Pair jailed after car struck innocent pedestrian as driver pursued cyclist

TWO people have been jailed after a pedestrian died when he was struck by a car whose driver was attempting to pursue a cyclist.

Neil Darnell, 50, died two weeks after the April 16 incident in Waltham Abbey, Essex, having suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Patrick O'Driscoll, 18, from Hertford, who was a passenger in the car, was today sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court to eight years for manslaughter.

The driver, a 17-year-old boy from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 15 years having earlier been found guilty of murder.


The court heard how the pair had been attempting to pursue a cyclist following an earlier altercation.

CCTV footage recovered showed the pair had attended Le Golden Touch barbers on Market Square that morning.

An unknown man had approached the barbers to threaten the pair, before slashing the tyres of their BMW car.

He then fled the area on a bicycle.

Neil Darnell died of his injuries two weeks after the incident (Image: Essex Police)

Despite the car having been damaged and in a dangerous condition to drive, O'Driscoll and the 17-year-old got into the vehicle and pursued the cyclist.

While following at speed in the damaged BMW, they hit Mr Darnell, an innocent pedestrian, at around 10am as he was crossing the junction at Farm Hill Road.

He sadly passed away in hospital two weeks later, with a forensic post-mortem finding he had suffered a traumatic head injury.

Even after the collision, the pair continued their pursuit before eventually dumping the car.

'Did not care'

"Even after they had hit and fatally injured an innocent man, they still continued to drive dangerously to follow the cyclist," said Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Greg Wood.

"They didn't stop their vehicle, call for help or make any attempt to help Neil.

"Instead, they fled the scene and dumped the car to try and cover their tracks.

"I don't think they had a care for who they would possibly injure that day.

"Although this result can't bring back the loving husband and father Neil's family have lost, I hope they will find some relief knowing that they are now rightfully behind bars."