Man who ran over off-duty ambulance worker in pub car park convicted of murder

A thug who ran over an off-duty ambulance worker who was trying to help when a row broke out has been convicted of murder.

Victim Sheldon Flanighan, 55, was killed and his friend Wayne Common was badly injured when Toby Kelly deliberately hit them with his van in the car park of the Bay Horse, Northumberland, in April.

Following a trial which lasted almost five weeks at Newcastle Crown Court, Kelly was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, Northumbria Police said.

Mr Flanighan and his friend were in the pub when they noticed a disturbance between Kelly and a woman, and they went to help her.

Kelly, the woman and another man were ejected from the premises and they got in his van, which he then deliberately drove into Mr Flanighan and Mr Common, before he sped away.

Mr Flanighan died at the scene despite the best efforts of the emergency services.

Mr Common was badly hurt and has been left with long-term injuries.

After his death, the North East Ambulance Service paid tribute to the father-of-two, saying: “Sheldon came with a character larger than life, a smile and laughter that lit up the room and a heart that saw the good in everyone.”

Outside court, detective chief inspector Dave Johnson said: “Kelly’s actions were despicable and there was absolutely no need for Sheldon to lose his life, or for Wayne to sustain the serious injuries he did.

“This pointless violence has caused so much pain and I hope that today offers a sense of closure to the families, and to the wider community, who I know have been deeply affected by this.

“I have no idea what was going through Kelly’s mind when he made the decision to get in his van and use it as a weapon.”

The 38-year-old defendant, of Blyth, Northumberland, will be sentenced on Wednesday, 15 November.