By FAY SCHLESINGER
Last updated at 12:49 AM on 29th April 2010
A cyclist was knocked down and killed by an enraged motorist after he accidentally clipped the driver’s wing mirror, a court heard yesterday.
Sean Fitzgerald allegedly used his car to chase Paul Webb for 300 yards before mounting a pavement and ramming into his mountain bike in a revenge attack.
Prosecutors said Fitzgerald ‘used his car like a weapon’ to ‘catapult’ Mr Webb’s bicycle 25 yards into the air before fleeing the scene of the crash and leaving his victim for dead.
Mr Webb, 42, who lived with his girlfriend of 11 years, died of massive internal injuries at the roadside.
Fitzgerald, a father of two, was later seen hosing down the front of his silver Ford Focus before driving it to a mechanic for repair hours after the crash, Warwick Crown Court was told.
James Burbidge QC, prosecuting, told the court Mr Webb was targeted after he knocked into Fitzgerald’s wing mirror while passing between the car and the kerb in a queue of traffic in Coventry on April 16 last year.
He said: ‘The defendant’s car had stopped directly behind a bin lorry which was on the road. Mr Webb cycled close to Mr Fitzgerald’s car and damaged the wing mirror.
Mr Webb cycled on to the pavement and was shaking his right arm as if it was hurt.
‘Mr Fitzgerald pursued Mr Webb and there was a collision. We say that was a deliberate act by Mr Fitzgerald. In effect Mr Fitzgerald pursued Mr Webb using his car as a weapon.’
Mr Webb was returning to the Coventry home he shared with Nadia Wazera, 27, after finishing a morning shift at a Co-op warehouse in nearby Keresley at 2pm.
The court heard there was a brief altercation after Mr Webb knocked Fitzgerald’s wing mirror and cycled off.
Fitzgerald, 36, allegedly pursued Mr Webb for 70 yards along the road before opening his car door to confront him.
But Mr Webb cycled off again and Fitzgerald caught up with him once more before ramming into the back of his bike, it was alleged.
Mr Burbidge said: ‘Mr Webb was catapulted back into the windscreen before being catapulted again into a set of wheelie bins and then a garden wall.’
Passers-by saw the force of the impact send Mr Webb’s mountain bike flying before landing 25 yards away, the court heard.
Bin man Brian Butler, who heard Mr Webb bump into the wing mirror, told the court: ‘The silver car [driven by Fitzgerald] zipped past us.
‘He wanted to chase him. He wasn’t going to let the cyclist get away.
‘When we got up the hill I could see a smashed bike and I stood up in the cab and said: “**** me, he’d got him”. I couldn’t believe this was all over a wing mirror. ‘
The cyclist was lying across the pavement with his eyes open. There was no life in him at all. It was very upsetting.’
Mr Webb died at the scene despite attempts to revive him. Fitzgerald drove back to his home and asked his neighbour if they knew anyone who could repair the car, the jury was told.
Mr Burbidge said: ‘A neighbour saw the defendant with a watering hose bending down by the nearside of the car. We say he was attempting to remove evidence of what he had done.’
Fitzgerald, a factory worker, handed himself in to police and admitted colliding with Mr Webb.
He denies one charge of murder and another of causing death by dangerous driving.
After Mr Webb’s death, Miss Wazera paid tribute to her partner, who moved from Liverpool to Coventry in 2002.
She said: ‘Paul was a hard-working man, a home lover who loved his cat Drew and was a keen football supporter.
‘He was a down-to-earth guy who was happy with the simple things in life – football, spaghetti bolognese, take-outs and nights in front of the TV.’
The trial continues.