Shropshire Star

Oswestry driver 'angry' with someone outside takeaway when he killed woman, court told

A man high on cocaine and alcohol who hit and killed a 22-year-old woman with his car has denied he was “angry” and looking to hurt somebody he “had an issue with” outside a town centre takeaway, a court has heard.

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Rebecca Steer was hit and killed outside the Grill Out in Oswestry

Rebecca Steer, from Llanymynech, was hit and killed outside the Grill Out in Oswestry town centre on October 9 last year.

A second pedestrian, Kyle Roberts, was seriously injured in the incident on Willow Street just before 3am.

Stephen McHugh, of Artillery Road, Park Hall, Oswestry has admitted killing Miss Steer after she was hit by his gold Volvo, but he has denied murder.

The 28-year-old had previously told a jury at Stafford Crown Court that he had been taking cocaine, cannabis and consumed more than 10 double shots along with beer on the night he hit Miss Steer.

In cross-examining McHugh yesterday, prosecutor Mr Kevin Hegarty KC, asked the defendant, who had earlier admitted to never having held a driving licence, about his mood throughout the day and hours preceding the incident in Willow Street.

“Were you angry?” Mr Hegarty asked.

“No, nothing made me angry all day,” replied McHugh.

Mr Hegarty then asked the defendant about an altercation that McHugh and his “associate” Alex Coulson had admitted becoming embroiled in less than an hour before the collision outside the takeaway.

“When you were kicking a man in the head, you weren’t angry?” Mr Hegarty asked. “No. As I say, I kicked him and hold my hands up to that,” McHugh replied. “I did not know him. It was bad behaviour, terrible behaviour.”

He then asked McHugh why he stopped and reversed in front of the group of people outside Grill Out.

“I heard a shout and thought it might have been Steve who I was going to pick up. That’s the reason I went into town,” McHugh replied.

Mr Hegarty then asked McHugh, who had previously admitted to trying to “frighten” the crowd outside the takeaway, how he intended to scare them.

“I thought I’d drive towards them and pull it [the car] back. I didn’t intend to go on the kerb,” McHugh replied.

“What would they be scared of?” Mr Hegarty asked.

“I don’t know. The car itself. In case the car hit them, maybe. But that was never my intention,” McHugh replied.

“If the car were to hit somebody, what would happen?” Mr Hegarty asked.

“I didn’t think about it. It was stupid. None of them had done anything. They were just a bit rowdy,” McHugh said, adding: “This is not murder, this is an accident that happened through my stupidity. I hold my hands up.”

Mr Hegarty asked: “Did you want them to think you were someone to be reckoned with?”

“No, they were just kids. I was drunk. It was stupid that was all there was to it,” McHugh replied.

“I have a good name in the town. I have many friends in the town. If that was how I lived my life, I wouldn’t have would I?”

He then said he had “panicked” when he realised the car was on the kerb, but denied deliberately trying to hit run somebody over outside Grill Out.

Mr Hegarty replied: “Did you see the person you were trying to hurt and then press on regardless? Who was it that you were trying to hit with the car?”

“I wasn’t trying to hit anybody with the car,” McHugh repeated.

“I suggest there was somebody outside the Grill Out that you had an issue with,” Mr Hegarty said.

McHugh denied it., but the prosecutor added: “Yet somehow you turned the steering wheel to such a degree and pressed the accelerator that you did [run into the crowd]. And you were so angry that your mates in the car were telling you to calm down.”

“They never,” McHugh said. “How do you know they didn’t come up with a story to say I was angry? That they felt pressured by the police? I have admitted what I have done.”

Asked why he had not called an ambulance when he realised he had hit somebody on Willow Street, McHugh replied: “I didn’t think ahead like that. A lot of things I did wrong that day and I have to live with this for the rest of my life.”

McHugh who has admitted the manslaughter of Rebecca Steer and the actual bodily harm of Karl Roberts, denies murder and grievous bodily harm.

The case continues.

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