Shropshire Star

Oswestry man 'used car as a weapon' to murder woman, 22, outside takeaway, court told

A Shropshire man "used his car as a weapon" and deliberately mowed down a group of young people in Oswestry town centre, killing a 22-year-old woman and seriously injuring a young man, a court has heard.

Rebecca Steer, inset, died after she was hit by a vehicle outside the Grill Out takeaway in Willow Street, Oswestry

Stephen McHugh, 27, of Artillery Road, Park Hall, is accused of murdering Rebecca Steer in a crash in Willow Street in the early hours of October 9 last year.

Miss Steer, from Llanymynech, in Wales, was hit by a Volvo outside the Grill Out takeaway shortly before 3am. A second pedestrian, Kyle Roberts, was seriously injured in the incident.

McHugh, who is on remand at HMP Manchester, appeared in person at Stafford Crown Court before Mr Justice Andrew Baker for the first day of his trial on Wednesday.

He denies the murder of Ms Steer and the grievous bodily harm with intent of Mr Roberts, but he admitted on Monday to the manslaughter of the young woman and assault occasioning actual bodily harm of Mr Roberts.

Kevin Hegarty KC, prosecuting, said the Crown did not accept the pleas from McHugh and told the jury that they were there to decide if McHugh was in fact guilty of murder and GBH.

In opening the prosecution's case, Mr Hegarty told the jury that a group of young people had congregated outside the Grill Out takeaway in Willow Street at around 2.45am on Sunday, October 9 last year.

He said that McHugh stopped his gold Volvo in the road outside the takeaway and exchanged words with one or more of the young people.

"At that moment a young woman, Rebecca Steer, was crossing Willow Street, the car was to her left," said Mr Hegarty.

"All of a sudden, as she was crossing, the Volvo shot backwards. It narrowly missed her. She managed to get out of the way.

"Her escape, however, was short lived.

"She got to the other side and at that moment Mr McHugh turned his steering wheel in the direction of the people on the pavement and he drove onto the pavement towards that group of people. Rebecca Steer was part of that group."

Mr Hegarty said the car mounted the pavement and McHugh then "proceeded to drive through the group of people".

"He did not sound his horn," said Mr Hegarty. "We say he used his car as a weapon. He used the power and weight of the car to strike the group."

Mr Hegarty said the car hit three people; Rebecca Steer, Kyle Roberts and another young man.

"The two men were knocked aside by the front driver's side of the car," said Mr Hegarty.

"Rebecca Steer was more towards the front of the car, and as the car increased its speed, she was dragged down under the car."

He told the jury the car's wheels then went over Miss Steer, who suffered "catastrophic internal injury".

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues.

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