Jury retires in trial of van thief accused of murdering courier in Cardiff
The jury in the trial of a van thief accused of murdering a courier by running him over has retired to consider verdicts in the case.
Mark Lang, 54, suffered fatal injuries as he was dragged hundreds of metres by his vehicle after trying to stop Christopher Elgifari, 31, from getting away.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Mr Lang, of Cyncoed, had parked on Laytonia Avenue in the Cathays area of Cardiff at about 12.40pm on March 28 this year.
Mr Lang was stood at the door of the house to deliver the parcel when Elgifari ran to the van, which had been left unlocked with the key in the ignition, and jumped in.
David Elias KC, prosecuting, previously told the jury how Elgifari drove off at speed while Mr Lang chased him down Laytonia Avenue.
He described how Elgifari turned the van around at the end of the street, colliding with a garden wall, before driving back and hitting Mr Lang who was stood in the middle of the road.
The van then drove for more than 700 metres with Mr Lang’s body trapped underneath the vehicle, finally stopping at the junction of North Road and New Zealand Road.
Members of the public alerted the emergency services and Mr Lang was taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he died on April 15.
Elgifari, of Cwrt y Esgydd, Aberdare, denies murder and robbery but has admitted manslaughter and theft.
The incident was captured on nearby CCTV cameras and shows Mr Lang stopping at the side of the road to make his delivery, with Elgifari stealing the van and driving off.
Footage also shows the van approaching Mr Lang, who was stood in the middle of the road wearing a high-vis jacket, in an effort to make it stop.
Mr Elias previously told the jury: “The moment of impact is caught on CCTV – the van does not deviate. Mr Lang was front-on to the vehicle facing the driver when he was struck.
“Only the length of the bonnet separated the defendant and his victim. When the van ploughed into Mr Lang, the defendant, Christopher Elgifari, must have been looking right at him.
“The impact occurred between Mr Lang and the centre of the bonnet. This was not a glancing blow. Mr Lang disappeared under the bow. He was not thrown off to one side or the other.”
The court heard Mr Lang, whose bright jacket was visible from underneath the van, was dragged at least 743 metres as Elgifari sped away at speeds of 47mph in a 30mph zone – activating a speed camera.
Elgifari, who fled the scene and was arrested the following day, gave a prepared statement to officers declaring he did not mean to hit Mr Lang. He did not give evidence during his trial.
The trial, before Mr Justice Griffiths, continues.
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