Shropshire Star

Woman killed in crash outside Oswestry takeaway was innocent bystander, murder trial hears

A 22-year-old woman killed when an Oswestry man used "his car as a weapon" to deliberately drive into a group of young people outside a takeaway was an "innocent bystander" a court was told.

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Rebecca Steer died in Oswesty town centre last year

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.

Prosecutor Kevin Hegarty said Miss Steer had not been McHugh's intended target.

He said: "There was more than one person outside the takeaway that Mr McHugh was angry with. He was heard speaking in an aggressive way."

He added that the way he reversed the car also gave "a clear insight" of what he intended to do.

"We say that was to strike his target with his car," said Mr Hegarty. "We don't suggest that Rebecca Steer was his target. She was in effect, an innocent bystander, but there was somebody there that the defendant wanted to cause serious injury to.

"There was no time for anybody to escape from this. The people pressed themselves against the shop window, pushing each other, stumbling over each other in their panic to avoid being struck.

"Rebecca Steer had no chance to get away."

The court was then showed CCTV of the incident where Miss Steer and Kyle Roberts were hit by the car. Mr Roberts was seriously injured but survived.

Mr Hegarty then told the court that two young men had earlier been "beaten up" by McHugh, who mistakenly thought they were part of a group "that caused him trouble the previous weekend".

"He was wrong about that. But what it tells you is that when he saw people he thought had caused him trouble he got involved in violence," said Mr Hegarty.

He said McHugh, with friends Alex Coulson and Stephen Jones, drove to Oswestry town centre in a gold Volvo on the night Miss Steer died.

"Within the car, with Alex Coulson next to him, he [McHugh] saw somebody outside Grill Out and said 'that's them' and he became very, very angry, so much so, Alex Coulson told him to calm down," Mr Hegarty said.

He added that somebody in the group outside the takeaway "either hit Stephen McHugh or hit his car".

"The effect of it was that Stephen McHugh immediately put the car into reverse as Rebecca Steer was crossing the road. When he finished the reverse manoeuvre, he drove forward into the group," Mr Hegarty said.

He added that the car was later found abandoned in Oswestry prior to McHugh's arrest three days after the incident.

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

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