An uninsured learner driver has been found guilty of manslaughter after he killed a shopper in a Sainsbury’s car park during a row.
Timothy Higgins, 22, drove at deaf pedestrian Christopher Gadd, 48, after the pair exchanged “V signs” over a parking space dispute.
On Tuesday at Cardiff Crown Court, provisional driving licence holder Higgins was convicted of killing Mr Gadd by swerving towards him, causing him to fall backwards onto the road and dying from serious head injuries.
Mr Gadd had been a passenger in his brother’s car, which “momentarily” blocked Higgins’ Land Rover Freelander from reversing out of a space on the afternoon of March 4 in Pontllanfraith, South Wales.
Prosecutor Owen Williams previously told Cardiff Crown Court: “Unable to reverse momentarily, Higgins became annoyed and gestured at the brothers and they gestured back. The V sign was used.”
Higgins eventually managed to reverse out of his space while Mr Gadd followed him on foot to remonstrate with him.
The court was told that while Mr Gadd was walking on the car park’s carriageway, Higgins “deliberately swerved” towards him on his way out and collided with a “slight glancing blow”.
Witness Maggie Pridley told police she saw the Land Rover “turning into the man” before its front driver’s side corner struck Mr Gadd.
Mr Gadd fell backwards to the road and sustained “significant and fatal head injuries”, resulting in him bleeding from his ears and nostrils, and despite the efforts of shoppers and paramedics to revive him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
His cause of death was later given as blunt force head injury including complex skull fractures.
The prosecutor said it was not suggested Higgins intended to kill Mr Gadd or to cause him serious harm, but that by driving in the manner he did he “unlawfully assaulted” him.
Higgins’ passenger, his girlfriend Nia Bailey, was the only person insured to drive the Land Rover that day, as Higgins was not insured and only held a provisional licence.
In police interview, Higgins told police: “I did swerve at the man, he was coming towards the vehicle and I just swerved at him to shit him up. I didn’t mean to hit him.”
Despite Higgins later denying he deliberately swerved towards Mr Gadd, a jury found him guilty of manslaughter, causing death while driving uninsured and causing death otherwise in accordance with a licence.
Higgins, from Blackwood, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday.
Following the conviction, Lisa Bennett of the CPS said: “Timothy Higgins used the vehicle as a weapon, deliberately swerving towards another person.
“His irresponsible driving has caused a tragic loss of life which could easily have been avoided.
“We hope that the conviction can bring some comfort to Mr Gadd’s friends and family, who remain in our thoughts.”