A man took the law into his own hands when he killed an Aston Villa fan by driving his car at him in an act of “revenge or murderous intent,” it was claimed in court.
Lee Mockble deliberately drove his car at 26-year-old Villa fan, Christopher Priest, killing him “almost instantaneously,” Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Mockble, aged 21, of Robin Hood Lane, Hall Green, has pleaded not guilty to murder and dangerous driving.
Christopher Hotten, prosecuting said Mockble, who had been driving a Volkswagen Golf with two passengers inside, neither swerved or braked when he drove on to the wrong side of Aston Hall Road after last year’s match between Aston Villa and Birmingham City on April 20.
Mr Hotten also alleged: “Mr Mockble is guilty of murder. He drove a motor vehicle deliberately at Mr Priest intending that he should die or suffer serious injury.
"The murder weapon was a motor car. In these circumstances the weapon was as effective as a gun or a knife used in revenge or with murderous intent.”
He said that Mr Priest had been drinking at the New Aston Social Club on Aston Hall Road after the match. As he left to catch a bus on Lichfield Road to go to the Yenton pub in Erdington, Mockble’s Volkswagen Golf approached.
Daniel Brown, who was with the group of Villa fans, asked Mockble’s passenger if they were “bluenoses” - meaning Birmingham City fans - but they did not respond and drove off.
Brown then threw his pint glass at the car smashing a window and injuring one of the passengers.
Mr Hotten, said: “If only Mr Mockble had approached a police officer he would have realised that three officers had witnessed the incident and Daniel Brown had been arrested.
“Instead, he decided to take the law into his own hands.
“He drove off up Aston Hall Road and stopped by Mandy’s Supermarket. Bottles were sought and collected as weapons for potential use.
“Mr Mockble now had a clear choice. He could have gone home or to a police station. In fact, he turned right, away from the incident but then executed a U-turn.
“Witnesses say he drove for 150 yards significantly in excess of the 30 mph speed limit.”
Christopher Priest and a group of friends were walking in the road when they saw the VW heading towards them.
The court head that Christopher Priest gestured at the vehicle as it drove on to the wrong side of the road.
Mr Hotten continued: “The VW neither swerved nor braked. It struck Christopher Priest.
“The crash fractured many of his ribs, pelvis and in particular it caused a traumatic tear in one of the main arteries of his body.
“Christopher Priest died almost instantaneously.”
All three men ran off after the car crashed into two other vehicles. A group chased Mockble but he eventually got away.
At 7.30pm that evening, Mockble, accompanied by his father and a solicitor, handed himself into Queens Road Police Station but he denied intending to cause any harm to Christopher Priest.
The jury of eight men and four women were taken to Aston Hall Road on Thursday afternoon after prosecuting lawyers decided they needed to see the site first hand.
The 12 members of the jury, none of who have any links to either football club, saw for themselves the place where Christopher Priest died.
The grassy bank near the spot had become an unofficial memorial for Mr Priest in the months after his death as fans laid scarves and shirts in his memory.
Christopher Hotten, prosecuting, said that there was no evidence to say which team Mockble supported and said that he was unaware if Mockble had actually attended the match.
When interviewed by police Mockble refused to answer any of their questions but said in a prepared statement that he had not intended to hit Mr Priest and was actually trying to drive around the group in the road.
The trial continues.