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Van thief convicted of murdering delivery driver with his own van

23 Nov 2023 5 minute read
Photo issued by South Wales Police of van thief Christopher Elgifari

A thief has been convicted of murdering a courier in Cardiff by running him over with his stolen van.

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 a house to deliver a parcel when Elgifari jumped in the van, which had been left unlocked with the key in the ignition.

Jurors were told how Elgifari drove off at speed while Mr Lang, described as “hardworking” by prosecutors, chased him down Laytonia Avenue.

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.

He drove the van for more than 700 metres with Mr Lang trapped underneath the vehicle, which became stuck and stopped at the junction of North Road and New Zealand Road.

Emergency services

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, had admitted manslaughter and theft but was convicted of murder and robbery by a jury in a unanimous verdict at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Justice Griffiths told the court he would sentence Elgifari on December 1.

Shouts of “yes” could be heard from the public gallery as the jury foreman returned the verdict of guilty to murder.

The judge told jurors: “Thank you for your service and for the time and effort that you have devoted to this case.”

During the trial, the court was shown footage from CCTV cameras that captured the incident.

In the footage, Mr Lang could be seen stopping his van at the side of the road to make his delivery, with Elgifari then stealing the van and driving off.

The van was also shown approaching Mr Lang, who was stood in the middle of the road wearing a high-vis jacket, in an effort to make it stop.

Prosecuting, David Elias KC 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.”

Speed camera

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.

In a statement issued after the jury’s verdicts, Mr Lang’s family thanked the jury, police and Crown Prosecution Service for their work and support.

They said: “We would also like to extend thanks to those who helped Mark, from the people who called 999 and held his hand, to the paramedics who assisted him at the scene and transferred him to Heath Hospital where he received tender and unwavering care from everyone on the critical care team.

“The last few months have been traumatic for us as a family after Mark’s brutal, and ultimately pointless killing. We now have to struggle to face life without him.

“His partner now faces life alone, his daughters won’t have their dad to walk them down the aisle, his grandchildren will never know their grandad.

“We will have to live through the memories we know he would have treasured if he were there with us.”

Detective Inspector Rebecca Merchant, of South Wales Police, said Elgifari had made a “conscious decision” to steal Mr Lang’s van and drive it at him.

“Mark Lang was a much-loved partner, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend who sustained fatal injuries while simply doing his job in Cardiff as a delivery man,” the senior investigating officer said.

“I recognise that nothing can bring Mark back or put right the events of that day and whilst the outcome today can never compensate Mark’s family for their terrible loss I do hope it will bring a degree of comfort to all those who love him.”

Mr Justice Griffiths will sentence Elgifari on December 1.

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Dai Rob
Dai Rob
7 months ago

Utter, Utter Scum… all accounts Mark was a lovely man!! 🙁

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