Driver cleared in Letchworth hit and run murder trial

Joseph Thomas has been cleared of attempted murder

Joseph Thomas has been cleared of attempted murder - Credit: Archant

A 22-year-old from Ilford accused of deliberately running over a victim in a Letchworth cul-de-sac has been cleared of attempted murder by a jury.

The parents of Joseph Thomas of Mayville Road, Ilford, whooped with joy at Luton Crown Court as the jury also cleared their son of an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, yesterday.

The court had heard how Carl Ellis tried to get out of the way of the vehicle as it bore down on him in Dunlin, in the north of the town.

Mr Thomas was accused of running him over after Mr Ellis attempted to get a picture of the driver’s car on a mobile phone, because he and a friend believed it looked suspicious.

Mr Thomas told the jury he had not intended to hurt Mr Ellis and had driven off in a silver Ford Focus because he was scared.

Mr Ellis had told a hushed courtroom on Monday:“I got hit on the leg by the front of the vehicle, and I spun around in the air and hit the floor and felt the wheels go over both legs.

“I felt my legs get pinned and I felt the crunch of my bones. I don’t recall feeling any pain - it was just numb.”

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He suffered eight breaks in his left shin bone, as well as another break just under the left knee cap.

The jury heard the injuries were caused to Mr Ellis shortly after 9am on Saturday, February 6 this year.

Mr Ellis told the court he had been in Letchworth visiting his friend Alan Swanton, who lived with his parents in the cul-de-sac off Dunlin.

When they saw a Ford Focus with tinted windows parked next to Mr Swanton’s red Seat, in a space normally used by Mr Swanton’s parents, they decided to get a photo of the vehicle’s registration number on Mr Ellis’ mobile phone, with Mr Ellis getting out of the car to do so.

He told the jury: “I wanted to clear up why he was hanging around.”

But as he walked around his friend’s car, the Focus suddenly ‘reversed away’ from him at speed and struck a brick wall.

It was then the car started accelerating and drove towards him.

After the incident Mr Thomas was alleged to have driven out of the cul-de-sac, but parked the car on the driveway of a house in a street nearby.

Police found it soon afterwards and arrested Mr Thomas who the court was told, was nearby.

Mr Ellis was taken by ambulance to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage where he underwent surgery.

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