Moment van driver who murdered off-duty ambulance worker by running him over outside pub laughs and mocks police officer when he’s arrested – as he’s jailed for at least 28 years
- Toby Kelly murdered Sheldon Flanighan and injured Wayne Common with van
- Footage showed how Kelly tried to blame another driver for the incident
This is the appalling moment that a van driver who murdered an ambulance driver by running him over outside a pub laughs and mocks a police officer as she tells him he is under arrest.
Toby Kelly was cornered by police after he ran over Sheldon Flanighan, 55, and his friend Wayne Common – and proceeded to mimic officers as they told him he was under arrest for causing death by dangerous driving, later upgraded to murder.
In the footage, Kelly, 38, tries to blame another driver for the incident, and when the female officer asks him if he knows where the alleged killer is, he repeats her words back at her, slapping the dashboard.
Kelly, of Wansbeck Avenue, Blyth, Northumberland, then talks over her and continues to repeat her words back at her as she radios to another officer for additional help.
Off-duty ambulance worker Mr Flanighan died, and Mr Common was badly hurt when Kelly deliberately drove into them in the car park of the Bay Horse Inn in Cramlington, Northumberland after a pub row on April 1.
Toby Kelly (left) was cornered by police after he ran over Sheldon Flanighan (right), 55, and his friend Wayne Common – and proceeded to mimic officers as they told him he was under arrest for causing death by dangerous driving, later upgraded to murder
This is the appalling moment that van driver Kelly who murdered Mr Flanighan by running him over outside a pub laughs and mocks a police officer as she tells him he is under arrest
Kelly has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 28 years in prison for Mr Flanighan’s murder and 13 years and 149 days for the attempted murder of Mr Common, to be served concurrently.
He will also be banned from driving for three years following his release from prison.
Father-of-two Mr Flanighan and Mr Common were in the pub when they noticed a disturbance between Kelly and a woman and went to help her, jurors at Newcastle Crown Court were told.
Kelly, the woman and another man were ejected from the premises and they got in his van, which he then deliberately drove into Mr Flanighan and Mr Common before speeding away.
Mr Flanighan died at the scene while Mr Common was left with long-term injuries.
Kelly, was found guilty of murder and attempted murder after a five-week trial. He pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
Jurors heard damning evidence of his shocking behaviour and were shown body worn video footage of him laughing and joking – moments after learning of Sheldon’s death.
Judge Penny Moreland said Kelly went to the pub with David Fairclough and Shannon Wooden and started ‘causing trouble,’ intimidating a staff member, refusing to leave when asked and throwing his wallet on the counter to show how much money he had.
Ms Wooden hit him and he ‘retaliated and overpowered’ her, causing injuries to her face and dragging her by her feet from the bar, the court was told.
Judge Moreland said Mr Flanighan and Mr Common intervened because of the way Kelly was treating Ms Wooden, and he ‘used his car as a weapon’, driving at Mr Common, knocking him down and driving over him.
‘No-one saw Sheldon Flanighan go under the van. The expert’s hypothesis is that he went under as you reversed. You ran over him twice,’ the judge said.
Judge Moreland said after Kelly left the scene he was seen on CCTV hugging Mr Fairclough ‘in jubilation’ and examining his van for damage.
A victim impact statement read in court by Mr Flanighan’s sister Julia Burnett described him as a ‘dedicated dad’ whose sons have been left heartbroken by his death.
One of Mr Flanighan’s sons was too traumatised to take his exams and was ‘tortured’ by the fact his father could not be there for his 16th birthday, the court was told.
Mrs Burnett said her brother had ‘lost his dreams of seeing his sons grow up’ and his ‘well-earned retirement’ after 29 years with the North East Ambulance Service.
Mr Sheldon’s home town of Amble in Northumberland was brought to a standstill on the day of his funeral as thousands of mourners attended, the court was told.
Police at the scene of the incident at the Bay Horse Inn in Cramlington, Northumberland
Father-of-two Mr Flanighan and Mr Common were in the pub when they noticed a disturbance between Kelly and a woman and went to help her, jurors at Newcastle Crown Court were told
Kelly, the woman and another man were ejected from the premises and they got in his van, which he then deliberately drove into Mr Flanighan and Mr Common before speeding away
Mrs Burnett said: ‘The defendant has never shown any remorse or acknowledgement of guilt.
‘The atrocity committed by (Kelly) is beyond any comprehension.’
She told the court: ‘Our lives have been changed forever. We will never be graced by Sheldon’s warmth again. He has been stolen from us, never to return.’
In a statement read to the court, Mr Common said he suffered injuries to his head, ribs, foot, liver and spleen and has been left with ongoing balance issues, pain in his left hand and right foot, slurred speech and the loss of taste and smell.
‘Foods I used to eat like bread, potatoes and pasta now leave a terrible metallic taste in my mouth,’ he said.
He has also been diagnosed with depression and is likely to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the court was told.
Mr Common said: ‘Prior to this incident I always used to be the life and soul of the party (…) I feel as though I don’t recognise myself from who I used to be.
‘I don’t feel I’m entitled to enjoy myself because of what happened to Sheldon. (He) was a decent man who lived a decent life.’
In mitigation, the court was told Kelly is ‘sincerely sorry for the events of that day’.
Speaking after the sentencing, the Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Johnson, of Northumbria Police, said: ‘This has been an incredibly difficult time for Wayne and Sheldon’s loved ones, and I am pleased that Kelly has been jailed for life, and these difficult proceedings are at an end.
‘I know that no sentence will ever take away the pain Kelly caused that night, or bring Sheldon back, but I do hope today can serve as a form of closure and allow all those grieving to begin moving forwards with their lives.
‘Kelly behaved in a despicable manner that night. The jury heard details of his aggression towards Wooden inside the bar, before he chose to drive into Sheldon and Wayne. Even when we arrested him for causing Sheldon’s death, our body worn video footage captured him joking and lying to officers about who the driver was.
‘I am pleased that Kelly has a long prison term ahead of him. I hope he uses the opportunity to seriously think about all the unnecessary pain and suffering he has caused due to his inexcusable anger. Our communities are no place for people like this.
‘I would once again like to thank Sheldon’s family, and Wayne and his family, for their strength and support throughout. I also extend my thanks to the wider team at Northumbria Police, and our criminal justice partners, who have helped ensure Kelly has been brought to justice for his actions.’
Victim impact statement by Sheldon Flanighan’s sister Julia
‘Sheldon was an amazing character. He filled our lives with love and care, fun and antics, and hilarious laughter.
‘He was a dedicated dad and was so very proud of his sons. Sheldon always gave his time to his boys; they had a very strong father-and-son relationship, built with love, devotion, and fun.
‘My sister Sharon and I are seven months without our adored brother Sheldon, and we are still utterly broken without him.
‘The overwhelming heartbreak is real, an ache, a piercing pain that cannot be cured. Perhaps it may ease over time, but it continues to be acute and devastating to this day.
‘Myself, I am consumed with an overwhelming emptiness and sadness at the loss of Sheldon’s life. I too have deep anger over the atrocity of his terrible death, which is accompanied by intense anxiety that adequate retribution will be delivered. I am still overcome by the never-ending tortuous questions as to why this has happened, what the future holds, and what I can do to mend my family.
‘I feel guilty that I am still here when Sheldon has gone, but I am determined that his memory will live on.
‘Sheldon has lost his life and his dreams of seeing his sons grow, having their families, and enjoying future grandchildren. He has also lost his well-earned retirement. After 29 years of service with the North East Ambulance Service, he was looking forward to spending more time with his family, and friends. His life was spent caring for others in the Ambulance Service, and his retirement was going to be his time to enjoy.
‘Sheldon’s funeral brought his hometown of Amble to a standstill as thousands of mourners attended and watched as his coffin received a Guard of Honour from the Ambulance Service.
‘He was a beloved character, his caring and his fun-loving nature endeared him to friends, colleagues and patients. He was well-known throughout Northumberland and the wider North East, with an enormous network of friends who have all reached out to express their disbelief, sadness, and anger.
‘It is difficult to comprehend how we go forward without Sheldon. It is a tragedy that the world will be without him. We will go forward but with heavy hearts. A piece of our family has been taken from us. Nothing short of his return will ever compensate for the loss we have to feel every day.’
‘Sheldon’s family will forever be impacted. In our hearts, Sheldon will never be forgotten.’
Victim impact statement by Wayne Commons
‘I worry about leaving the house and rarely leave the house alone. I do not like to be around large groups of strangers and will purposefully take myself out of these situations. At the same time, I do not like to be on my own.
‘If I am outdoors, the sounds of sirens and car horns are like a knife going through me. I hate them. They cause me to feel really jumpy and anxious. Being in built up areas and dealing with heavy traffic also cause me to feel extremely stressed.
‘My tolerance towards people and certain situations has also lessened. I tend to use a scale of 1 to 10. Prior to what happened at The Bay Horse Inn, if someone irritated me, I would mark it in my head as a 2 or 3 out of 10. Now however I would mark the same irritation as a 9 or 10.
‘I have been told I am likely to be suffering from PTSD and have also been diagnosed with depression.
‘Prior to this incident I always used to be the life and soul of the party and regularly contacted by friends for a game of golf, a pint or out for a meal however I have now distanced myself from all of that.
‘I feel like I am just living my life from day to day. I can’t plan anything as I don’t know how I’ll feel from one day to the next.
‘I feel as though I don’t recognise myself from who I used to be. I can’t look at myself in the mirror anymore because I don’t like myself.
‘I don’t feel like I am entitled to enjoy myself again because of what happened to Sheldon. I think someone told me recently that this was survivor’s guilt.
‘I have been good friends with Sheldon for the last 40 years plus. As kids we both played football on opposing teams. As the years went by our football days came to an end and we both took up golf.
‘I would speak to or see Sheldon every day. We played golf together, went on holiday together, spent Christmas’ together, lived together for periods of time. Put it this way, if I had ever got married, Sheldon would have been my best man.
‘He is a big miss in my life. I still do not think that I’ve come to terms with the fact that he is no longer here. I know that I have not started grieving yet.
‘Sheldon was a decent man who lived a decent life. He was and is loved and my thoughts are with his family and other friends.’
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