Driver denies ‘using car as a weapon’ to kill Bognor Regis father in fatal ‘accident’
A driver accused of mowing down a Bognor Regis dad has denied murder and manslaughter.
Christopher Sheehan, 41, from Walberton, is accused of killing Daniel Weyman, 32, in Belmont Street in the early hours of September 22, 2019.
Jurors, during a trial at Hove Crown Court, were told that Mr Weyman, who lived at Belmont Street, suffered two broken legs and ‘catastrophic head injuries’ after he was struck by a car, driven by Mr Sheehan.
He later died in hospital.
Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, told jurors today (Wednesday, March 17) that Sheehan ‘used his car as a weapon’ to deliberately kill Mr Weyman.
Sarah Vine, defending, said the collision was an accident and Sheehan had no intention to kill. She told jurors that any statements to the contrary were merely circumstantial, ‘as the CCTV camera moved away seconds before the crucial moment’.
She argued that Mr Weyman, who had become ‘drunk, high and irrational’ and allegedly threatened Sheehan’s partner Charlotte Richards, could have stepped out in front of the silver Vauxhall Zafira as it pulled away.
“Was there a momentary distraction?” Ms Vine asked jurors to consider. “Something like a distressed partner in the passenger seat who he checked to see was OK?
“One of these men was acting unreasonably, violently and disproportionately and it wasn’t Sheehan.”
The court heard that Mr Weyman, after spending time drinking and smoking with friends, had gone outside with Sheehan’s nephew, Curtis, who used Caitlyn Gooden’s home to store drugs.
Jurors were told three of Sheehan’s five children are terminally ill, after being born with a rare genetic condition.
Giving evidence earlier in the seven-day trial, Sheehan said his partner was ‘unaware of the plan to get drugs’.
“We shook hands to exchange drugs so Charlotte wouldn’t see,” he said.
“Danny started the argument in an aggressive manner.
“Charlotte was upset. She grabbed my arm and said he had a knife. She seemed hysterical.
“He was coming round in front of the car. I was scared for our safety.
“I don’t accept I was speeding away.
“I intended no harm to Danny Weyman. It’s a burden to know I took a life.”
No evidence was found to prove that Mr Weyman was in possession of a bladed article, the court heard.
Ms Gooden told jurors earlier this week that the victim was ‘upbeat and jolly’ before tragedy struck.
The witness recalled hearing tyres screech and the sound of a car accelerating.
Grady Beattie, who was also in the flat, gave CPR to Daniel after he was struck.
Despite admitting that his memory of the incident was limited, having ‘been tipsy’ at the time, Mr Beattie said he remembered seeing Daniel fly through the air before landing heavily.
The court heard that there was no damage to the vehicle but Home Office pathologist Douglas Chapman found that Mr Weyman’s injuries were ‘consistent with a road traffic accident’.
Mr Bennetts opposed claims from the defence that the car was travelling at a low speed.
“It was his [Sheehan’s] intention to cause serious bodily harm,” he said.
“Danny fell to the ground with such force that it caused catastrophic brain injuries.
“That gives you some idea about the speed it was going at.”
Judge Jeremy Gold QC said ‘cases like this are always tragic’. adding: “Mr Weyman had issues in his life but there is no doubt he is sorely missed by loved ones. It is a tragedy for him to die in the way he did.”
Jurors retired from the court today and were expected to reach a verdict tomorrow (Thursday).