Learner driver 'killed shopper after swerving at him in parking space row'

Timothy Higgins (pictured) denies manslaughter after the incident at a Sainsbury's car park in south Wales earlier this year. (Wales News)

A learner driver killed a shopper after swerving towards him following a supermarket car park row, a court heard yesterday.

Uninsured Timothy Higgins, 22, allegedly drove at Christopher Gadd, 48, after they exchanged ‘V signs’ during a parking space dispute outside a Sainsbury’s in Pontllanfraith, South Wales.

On Monday, a court heard provisional driving licence holder Higgins drove at his alleged victim to ’s**t him up' before knocking him backwards onto the road, resulting in him dying from serious head injuries.

Mr Gadd had been a passenger in his brother’s car which 'momentarily' blocked Higgins’ Land Rover Freelander from reversing out of a space on the afternoon of March 4 this year, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Owen Williams told Cardiff Crown Court: 'Unable to reverse momentarily, Higgins became annoyed and gestured at the brothers and they gestured back. The V sign was used.'

Christopher Gadd, 48, had been shopping with his brother Paul when they apparently "blocked" Higgins from reversing out of space. (Wales News)
Higgins, 22, allegedly swerved at Mr Gadd to 's**t him up', the court heard. (Wales News)

Higgins eventually managed to reverse out of his space and drove to another part of the car park, while Mr Gadd followed him on foot to remonstrate with him.

The court heard that while Mr Gadd was walking on the car park’s carriageway, Higgins drove towards him.

Mr Williams said: 'As Higgins approached where Mr Gadd was positioned in the carriageway, he deliberately swerved his motor vehicle to the right in order to drive at him.

'As a result of him doing so Higgins’ motor vehicle collided with Mr Gadd with a slight glancing blow.'

Witness Maggie Pridley told police she saw the Land Rover 'turning into the man' before its front driver’s side corner struck Mr Gadd.

Mr Williams said Mr Gadd fell backwards to the road and sustained 'significant and fatal head injuries', resulting in him bleeding from his ears and nostrils, and despite the efforts of shoppers and paramedics to revive him he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His cause of death was later given as blunt force head injury including complex skull fractures.

The prosecutor said it was not suggested Higgins intended to kill Mr Gadd or to cause him serious harm, but that by driving in the manner he did he 'unlawfully assaulted' his alleged victim.

Mr Williams also told the court Higgins’ passenger, his girlfriend Nia Bailey, was the only person insured to drive the Land Rover that day, as Higgins was not insured and was the holder only of a provisional licence.

Mr Higgins is accused of manslaughter following the collision at this Sainsbury's in Pontllanfraith, South Wales in March. (Wales News)

In police interview, Higgins described seeing Mr Gadd 'marching aggressively' towards his car while hitting his own fist into his hand, and feared for his partner’s safety.

Higgins allegedly told police in an interview: 'I did swerve at the man, he was coming towards the vehicle and I just swerved at him to s**t him up. I didn’t mean to hit him.'

Mr Williams said Higgins now denies deliberately swerving or driving towards Mr Gadd.

He added: 'We say the phrase ‘s**t him up’ means this – trying to scare Mr Gadd.'

Higgins, from Blackwood, denies manslaughter, causing death while driving uninsured and causing death otherwise in accordance with a licence.

The trial continues.