Woman found guilty of murder after driving her car at fiancé in Rode Heath
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A 23-year-old woman has been found guilty of murdering her fiancé after deliberately driving her car at him in Rode Heath.
Alice Wood was convicted of the murder of 24-year-old Ryan Watson at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 2 January, following a three-week trial.
Wood, of Draycott Cross Road, Cheadle, has been remanded in custody to be sentenced on Friday 2 February.
Ryan was killed on Friday 6 May 2022, after Wood repeatedly drove her car at him in what witnesses described as a game of ‘chicken’ after she lost her temper.
The pair had returned to their home at the time in Oak Street, Rode Heath, shortly after 11pm that evening, after attending a party in Hanley, at which both had been drinking alcohol.
Wood drove Ryan’s vehicle home, a Fiat Punto, and both exited the vehicle. At around 11.20pm, Wood was seen on CCTV getting into her own car, a Ford Fiesta, and reversing it out of its space while Ryan is seen walking around in the vicinity.
Around this time, neighbours reported hearing shouting, doors slamming, and a car engine revving. CCTV shows the Fiesta reversing towards Ryan, almost hitting him.
Wood drove towards Ryan a second time, onto Sandbach Road, knocking him onto the bonnet. Footage showed Ryan walking away from the collision but Wood deliberately drove at him a third time, hitting him and causing him to go under the car.
Wood continued to drive for approximately 160m near to Keats Drive with Ryan still under the vehicle, before stopping and presenting at a nearby address. She told the resident; ‘please phone an ambulance, I think I’ve run over my boyfriend’.
Emergency services responded and paramedics sadly pronounced Ryan dead at the scene. Officers attended and spoke to Wood, subsequently arresting her due to the disclosures she had made.
She also failed a roadside breath test and was found to have 61 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, over the legal limit of 35. Upon arrest she told officers; ‘it’s fine, I deserve it’.
During interview on Saturday 7 May 2022, Wood answered no comment to all questions put to her and was conditionally bailed. When additional evidence came to light, Wood was further arrested and charged with murder on Thursday 26 May 2022.
Following the verdict, Detective Inspector Nigel Parr said:
“While no conviction is going to bring Ryan back, I hope it will bring some sense of closure for his family, knowing that justice has been served.
“The night Ryan died, Wood used her vehicle as a weapon, while under the influence of alcohol, deliberately driving at him and even continuing to drive after knocking him down.
“She knew what she had done, but since then has refused to take accountability for her actions.
“Thankfully, as a result of our investigation and the evidence against her, she has been found guilty of Ryan’s murder.
“Our thoughts remain with Ryan’s family and friends as they continue to deal with the devastating events that took place.”
A statement from Ryan’s family reads:
“Today we finally got justice for our beloved son Ryan.
“Ryan’s death has left our family heartbroken. He was taken from us far too soon, he was just a young man, 24 years old, with his whole life ahead of him. He had just started his career working for the charity Headway and helping other people, which is what he loved to do.
“Ryan had such a big personality; he was a bubbly, fun-loving, caring person with a heart of his gold who would do anything for anyone. Ryan loved animals and his dogs. Ryan was always good at sports like football, BMX biking and pool. He loved hanging out with his mates and playing his music.
“He will be forever missed. All his family and friends are heartbroken to know we never get to see him again. Words cannot express how devastated and lost we are without Ryan. He touched the hearts and enriched the lives of everyone who knew him. We only had 24 years together, but we are proud to say he was our son and a fantastic big brother.
“We are grateful today we got justice for Ryan. It’s been so hard to watch the CCTV footage of our son getting hit by her car over and over again, then dragged up the road still being trapped under her car. I can’t imagine how scared Ryan must have been at that moment. The one person Ryan trusted the most is the person who took his life in such a violent way. I am living in a nightmare knowing my son’s last moments were so brutal.
“We saw the CCTV footage at the party that night. We are so proud to see him being such a gentleman to everyone, even helping an old lady who had fallen over. He was the life and soul of the party that night. “Alice is in prison where she belongs. But no sentence is going to be long enough for what she has taken from us and Ryan, he’ll never get to live his life and fulfil his dreams.
“We would like to say thank you to all the emergency services and people at the scene that helped Ryan. To Cheshire Police, Nigel Parr and the Major Investigation Team, liaison officers Tom, Kerry and Kate; thank you for all the support we received through this difficult time. A special thank you for the outstanding work from Mr Ford and his team and the CPS. Thank you to all the jury and His Honour Judge Leeming. Thank you for all your hard work to help get this fair verdict and justice for Ryan.”