Essex

Leonard Willsher jailed for David Fletcher van theft injury

David Fletcher Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Father-of-three David Fletcher was dragged along and run over by his van

A thief who showed "no regard" for a courier whose van he stole before running him over and leaving him for dead, has been jailed.

David Fletcher, 58, was left with life-threatening injuries as he was making a delivery in Purfleet, Essex, on 9 July.

Leonard Willsher, 41 of The Fremnells in Basildon, admitted offences including causing grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving.

He was jailed for three years and eight months at Basildon Crown Court.

Mr Fletcher, of Upminster, tried to stop his van being stolen but was pushed to the floor and then run over.

Police are continuing their investigation because it is believed Mr Willsher had an accomplice.

'Wiping his fingerprints'

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Leonard Willsher pushed David Fletcher away before driving over him

In a statement, Mr Fletcher's family said: "We know that without the first class care he received, David would not be with us today.

"We of course wish that this incident had never happened and we will always have to live with the consequences.

"We have however drawn comfort from the fact that for every person like the defendant and his accomplice, there are countless others that have shown so much kindness and care."

Det Ch Insp Lucy Morris said: "Leonard Willsher was an opportunist thief who stole Mr Fletcher's vehicle whilst he made a delivery.

"Mr Fletcher chased after him and bravely held onto the lorry's wing mirror.

"In trying to escape and with no regard for his victim, Leonard Willsher callously pushed Mr Fletcher away and then ran him over.

"Despite causing near fatal injuries, Willsher did nothing to help his victim, but was observed wiping his fingerprints from the lorry before running off, leaving his victim for dead."

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