Driver used car as ‘weapon to crush 22-year-old woman to death’

A 22-year-old woman was crushed to death when a motorist ploughed into a crowd of people outside a takeaway, using his car as a weapon, a court has been told. Rebecca Steer was killed after being run over and dragged along the road by a gold Volvo being driven by 28-year-old Stephen McHugh, 28, in Oswestry, Shropshire.

Stafford Crown Court heard Ms Steer had been out with friends and was outside a takeaway in the town when McHugh drove past the group at 2.45am on October 9 last year.

“Words were exchanged” between McHugh and two people waiting outside the fast food joint which prompted the motorist to mount the pavement, the jury was told.

Ms Steer had been crossing the road when she was hit by the vehicle and pulled underneath it before being dragged along the street.

The criminal justice student at Liverpool University was rushed to hospital – but subsequently died after suffering catastrophic injuries.

A man was also seriously injured when McHugh rammed into the group but survived, the court was told.

McHugh is facing charges of murder and attempting to cause GBH with intent, having pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm shortly before the trial was due to begin.

Prosecutor Kevin Hegarty KC said McHugh had used the “power and weight ” of his car to use it “as a weapon”.

He said: “At about 2.45am on October 9 last year, Mr McHugh was driving a gold-coloured Volvo car in Oswestry.

“At the same time, in the town centre a group of young people had gathered on Willow Street.

“They had gathered there because there was a takeaway. A takeaway called Grillout.”

McHugh had driven along Willow Street, which is a one-way street, with the takeaway was on his righthand side Mr Hegarty said.

He continued: “He stopped in the road by the group of people who were outside the takeaway.

“Words were then exchanged between Mr McHugh and one or two other people who were waiting outside of the takeaway.

“At that moment a young woman, Rebecca Steer, was crossing Willow Street.

“As she crossed Willow Street the Volvo car was to her left, ahead of her so she would’ve crossed behind the Volvo.”

As she was crossing the Volvo “shot backwards” and narrowly missed her, Mr Hegarty continued.

He said: “Her escape was short-lived. She then continued to cross the road now with the Volvo on her right-hand side.

“At that moment Mr McHugh turned the steering wheel in the direction of the people on the pavement.

“Then he drove onto to the pavement towards that group of people and Rebecca Steer was part of that group.

“The drivers side car went onto the curb onto the footpath, he proceeded to drive through the group of people.

“He did not sound his horn. We say he used his car as a weapon. He used the power and weight of his car to strike the group.”

The court heard that three people including Rebecca, of Llanymynech, Powys, were hit by the vehicle as it mounted the pavement.

Mr Hegarty added: “The two men were knocked to the side by the offside wing. But Rebecca Steer was near the front of the car.

“As the car increased its speed as it went through the group she was dragged down under the car then dragged then along the roadway as the car came off the pavement.

“The car then went over her, one or more of the wheels went over her.

“She was crushed and left with multiple rib fractures and catastrophic internal injuries.”

The trial continues.

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