Beds, Herts & Bucks

Toddbury Farm killing: Christopher McCarthy jailed for 10 years

Patrick Maloney Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Father-of-three Patrick Maloney died after being hit by a vehicle at a travellers' site in Bedfordshire

A man who killed a rival in a "simmering" traveller feud by dragging him beneath his van has been jailed for 10 years.

Patrick Maloney, 43, described in court as a "gentle giant", died of multiple injuries at Toddbury Farm, near Leighton Buzzard last August.

Christopher McCarthy, 22, from the nearby Greenacres site, was convicted at Luton Crown Court of manslaughter.

McCarthy's bother Thomas was found not guilty of causing actual bodily harm.

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Prosecutor Ann Evans said that after consulting the Maloney family, Thomas McCarthy would not face a retrial. The judge entered a not guilty verdict on the ABH charge.

During the trial, the jury heard of a "simmering feud" between two traveller families.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption McCarthy denied intending to strike Mr Malony with his van

The court was told how McCarthy drove to the scene of the killing and saw Mr Maloney, who was 6ft 4in tall, attacking a BMW car with his parents and sister inside.

He drove into Mr Maloney and dragged his body in a circular motion over gravel.

McCarthy claimed he had no intention of striking Mr Maloney.

But Judge Michael Kay QC said: "Instead of swerving to avoid him or to brake you drove straight at him. You did not take any evasive action.

"This was a calculated, albeit split-second, decision to drive at Patrick Maloney because you were angry at him for attacking your parents' vehicles."

In a witness impact statement read, Mr Maloney's wife, Margaret, said: "I loved my husband with all my heart. He had a smile for everyone. He was everyone's friend. People said he was a gentle giant."

His son, also called Patrick, said his whole world fell apart when his father died in his arms. Referring to McCarthy in the statement he said: "You have ripped our lives apart. Nightmares wake me up at night."

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