A HALL Green man has been given a life sentence for the murder of a football fan after a derby game last spring.
Lee Mockble, 21, of Robin Hood Lane was found guilty of deliberately running over Sutton Coldfield man Christopher Priest. The 26-year-old had been killed following a clash between Aston Villa and Birmingham City on April 20.
Jurors had heard two weeks of evidence at Wolverhampton Crown Court and returned a verdict on Wednesday. Mockble, who had pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, was told that he would serve a minimum of twelve years.
Judge John Warner said: “These events started with a piece of mindless violence directed in the direction of the car for no other reason than it was believed to contain opposing supporters.
“It ended with Mr Priest being mown down in the road and losing him his life. It has been said in court that you used your car as a weapon. It was a lethal weapon used by you in a dreadful act of revenge.
“No sentence that I can pass can equate to the loss of life that has happened here and the pain suffered by Mr Priest’s family and friends.”
Court had heard about the tragic events which had unfolded on Aston Hall Road. During the case, Christopher Hotten QC, prosecuting, said that Mockble had deliberately driven at Mr Priest and his friends after a pint glass had smashed his car window.
Mockble had insisted that he drove away from the glass throwing incident to tend to Ryan Pedley, a friend who had been in the car and was injured, before performing a U-turn to find medical help.
Mark Wall, defending, said: “The tragedy of the case is that Mr Priest got hit because he was in the road and he slipped.”
Speaking outside the court, Mr Priest’s dad, Lee, said: “At some point Mockble’s parents will get their son back which is something forever denied to us.
“At least we can say we have sought justice for Christopher. We can now start to try and rebuild our lives, sadly, without our son.”