Dad mows down cyclist he accused of ruining his marriage after driving 65 miles

The moment a man deliberately mowed down a cyclist he "wrongly believed" was responsible for him losing access to his children has been captured in sickening footage.

A jury heard Mark Whittaker, 45, drove 65 miles then lay in wait with a plan to ambush and confront Darren Fordred, whom he also blamed for 'ruining his marriage'.

The drunk and angry dad took his victim by surprise when he suddenly mowed his car into the cyclist as he headed of to work, breaking the 38-year-old's bones in multiple places.

Whittaker then jumped out of his car and continued his violent ambush – kicking, punching and stamping on the bleeding cyclist as he lay helpless on the ground.

Whittaker was yesterday jailed for 21 years over the violent attack, which was captured on CCTV.

A jury heard Whittaker saw a 'red mist' on the early hours of October 12, 2018, and began driving to ambush the man whom he believed had ruined his life.

When he arrived at Mr Fordred's home, Whittaker waited until he saw Mr Fordred set off for work on his bicycle.

Whittaker accelerated his car to a speed of more than 30mph and rammed straight into the vulnerable man on his pedal bike.

Mr Fordred was scooped off the bike in the impact and smashed into the windscreen of Whittaker's car, suffering a double fracture of his legs.

He lay helpless on the ground with muscle, tendons and bones all exposed by his gaping wounds gushing blood.

Ignoring the horrific injuries he had caused to Mr Fordred, Whittaker began kicking and punching him and even put his hands around his throat while he screamed, "I lost my wife, I lost my family, I lost everything!"

Whittaker, of no fixed abode, had denied an attempted murder charge, claiming he never intended to kill Mr Fordred.

But he was convicted by a jury following a five-day trial at Reading Crown Court after the prosecution revealed he had sent his victim threatening text messages.

The messages said Whittaker would kill Mr Fordred before he drove from Portsmouth to ambush his victim in Reading to carry out the deliberate ambush.

Judge Heather Norton described to Whittaker the severity of his actions the day he decided to drive to the home in Reading.

The judge said: "Your intention in doing so was to confront Darren Fordred, who you wrongly believed to be responsible for your loss of access to your family.

"It was your intention from the outset to confront him with the use of violence. That much is clear from your actions, from the threatening texts which you sent where you threatened to kill him.

"You waited until you saw him leave his house on his bicycle to go to work. At the moment he left the house, you followed him, you had the intention to kill him.

"I and the jury saw on CCTV you, very deliberately and in a speed at excess of 30mph, drive across the road directly at and into Darren Fordred."

Judge Norton added: "You left your car and immediately went to Mr Fordred. There you continued your attack upon him, apparently oblivious to the fact that there were other residents and nearby road users watching you.

"You were seen to repeatedly punch and kick Mr Fordred and at one point you put your hand around his throat.

This attack was fuelled by alcohol, emotion and unrestrained anger, during the course of which you shouted 'I'm going to kill you'.

When police arrived, you commented to them that you intended to kill him." 

The judge called it a "deliberate and sustained attack" in which Whittaker had used his car as a weapon.

The judge noted that  before, during and after the attack Whittaker had spoken about killing Mr Fordred.

"It is perhaps of little surprise that the jury decided it was your intent to kill and convicted you of attempted murder," Judge Norton told him.

Prosecutor Michael Roques told the court that Whittaker had 18 previous convictions for 42 offences.

In one arson attack in 2008 Whittaker had poured petrol through the letterbox of a house where a person he held a grudge against lived, and ignited it.

When police arrested Whittaker, he had said: "He robbed my gran seven years ago. I want him dead."

It was also revealed that Whittaker had been convicted of causing aggravated bodily harm in 2007, when he slashed a victim across the face with a Stanley knife and sent threatening texts to an ex-partner threatening to cut her throat.

Mr Roques read a victim impact statement from Mr Fordred.

It said: "I have no idea why Mark did what he did but I do know how this has affected me. I am stressed out, in pain all the time, I can't walk properly and do simple things unaided. It makes me feel old before my time.

"I think Mark is a coward for using his car as a weapon."

Whittaker sat expressionless in the dock wearing a grey jumper and said nothing as he listened to all that was said about him.

Nicholas Syfret, QC, defending Whittaker, told the jury: "The only safe conclusion that you can draw as to when there was an intention to kill was immediately in the sudden moment that the defendant saw Mr Fordred on his bicycle.  

"Then, in the words that he used, a red mist came over him and for those brief moments he did intend to kill Mr Fordred. It was not anything more than an act of rage."

Judge Norton said a pre-sentence report concluded Whittaker had an established pattern of using violence as a means to getting even with people who had wronged him.

There was no conclusive evidence he had in fact been wronged by Mr Fordred, the judge added.

She gave him a 21-year custodial prison sentence and an additional three years on licence.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Peter Cave said following the sentencing: “Whittaker’s actions that evening will have a life-long impact on Mr Fordred.

“This was a horrific and totally unnecessary attack in which Whittaker callously and deliberately used his vehicle as a weapon.

"He had ample opportunity to reconsider his actions, but went ahead with this vicious attack.

“He knew the dangerous nature of his decision, and after the jury rejected his not guilty plea and convicted him of attempted murder, Whittaker repeatedly failed to show any remorse for his actions.

DC Cave praised the victim for his "courage".

“I hope the sentence handed down by the court can bring some kind of closure to Mr Fordred and his family."

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