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Dying hit-and-run victim Sheldon Lewcock asked friend to call his mother, jury told

WITNESSES to an alleged hit-and-run murder have described hearing a “loud bang” and seeing the victim “flying through the air.”

As Sheldon Lewcock lay in the street, broken and bleeding, he asked a friend to contact his mother, a jury has heard.

Sheldon Lewcock
Sheldon Lewcock

The 19-year-old succumbed to his catastrophic injuries five days later in hospital.

His killer, Ryan Willicombe allegedly used his van as a deadly weapon, Reading Crown Court has been told.

Nineteen-year-old Mr Willicombe, of Home Straight, Newbury, denies murdering Mr Lewcock and attempting to murder another youth, Kayden Williams.

He has pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of causing death by dangerous driving, but this has not been accepted by the prosecution.

The court heard that Willicombe had accused several men, including Mr Williams, of trying to coerce him into the drug trade prior to the incident.

Philip Evans, prosecuting, has said that, on the fateful day, August 4, 2020, “the defendant was driving his father’s van along a road in the Tilehurst area…called Pierces Hill when he spotted an oncoming group of boys riding electric motorbikes.

“He knew at least one of them in the group - Kayden Williams.”

Tributes for Sheldon Lewcock
Tributes for Sheldon Lewcock

Mr Willicombe aimed his van at the group, crossing into the wrong lane and clipping Mr Williams with the wing mirror, added Mr Evans.

Without braking, he then hit Mr Lewcock head on, jurors heard.

Mr Lewcock was hurled 30m and suffered “catastrophic injuries” including a broken jaw and sternum, fractured pelvis and “breaks to both legs, one of which was open.”

On Wednesday, April 17, jurors heard from witnesses to the incident.

One of them, Kathleen Byrn, said in a statement: “I heard a loud bang.

“On the road ahead I saw a young male flying through the air.”

After calling emergency services, Ms Byrn went over to comfort Mr Lewcock.

She said: “He was in a terrible condition…he was trying to speak but couldn’t.

“All his teeth had been knocked out.”

Ms Byrn went on to describe Mr Lewcock’s appalling injuries in detail and said his motorbike was shattered into pieces.”

Other witnesses described seeing Mr Willicombe fleeing in the van, which had a shattered windscreen and a front bumper hanging off and grinding on the road surface.

One of Mr Lewcock’s friends who was in the group that day was Hayden Blackwood.

He told jurors how they were returning from ‘off roading’ in Sulham Wood and he had ridden ahead of the others.

Turning back, he said, he was greeted by one of the group, Albie Fallon.

Mr Blackwood told jurors: “Albie looked shocked and said to me: ‘Sheldon’s dead - he got run over.’

“I headed back towards Pierces Hill and saw his bike smashed to bits.

“Sheldon was at the bottom of the hill.”

He said his friend was alive, but clearly seriously injured.

Struggling to speak, Mr Lewcock nevertheless managed to ask his friend to take his phone and contact his mother and tell her what had happened, the court heard.

Under cross examination by Paul Bogan KC, defending, Mr Blackwood conceded there had been, in Mr Bogan’s words, “a certain amount of mucking about on bikes, doing wheelies and weaving in and out of traffic” before the tragedy.

Other witnesses described seeing Mr Willicombe fleeing the scene in the van belonging to his father, Roger Aslam.

Mr Willicombe later caught a train from Newbury rail station on the way to his grandfather’s house in South Wales.

While there, the court heard, he messaged a friend saying: “They wanted war.”

On being told Mr Lewcock was still alive at the time he replied: “I hope he dies.”

Warned that this could mean a prison term he added: “True; I hope he paralysed.”

To a relative, he messaged: “I hope Sheldon dies…if he dies I’ll laugh myself to sleep.”

After his arrest he initially told police: “I’m not the person concerned,” said Mr Evans.

He subsequently replied “no comment” to all questions, the court heard.

Mr Evans told the jury they would hear from police officers who spoke to Mr Willicombe a week or two before the tragedy.

Mr Willicombe claimed he was being harassed by local drug dealers trying to pressure him into selling drugs for them.

Mr Evans said: “On July 22, 2022, Ryan Willicombe’s mother telephoned the police to report threats that had been made about her son.

“The police attended and spoke to Ryan Willicombe.”

Mr Willicombe claimed Mr Williams was one of those individuals and admitted using his father’s vehicle to “scare” his alleged tormentors away on at least one occasion.

Mr Evans added: “He said: ‘I would not have actually hit them - I would have probably slammed on the brakes if I had gotten that close.’”

The trial, expected to last until the start of next month, continues.

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