South East Wales

Woman killed in Adamsdown crash 'taunted love rival in messages'

Sophie Taylor Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Sophie Taylor died when her car hit a block of flats in Adamsdown, Cardiff

A woman was killed by a love rival in a car chase days after she taunted her in a chain of messages about stealing her boyfriend, a jury has been told.

Sophie Taylor, 22, died when her car hit a block of flats in Adamsdown, Cardiff, in August 2016.

Cardiff Crown Court heard her BMW crashed while being followed by "jealous" Melissa Pesticcio, 23, and her ex-boyfriend in separate cars.

Miss Pesticcio, of Llanrumney, denies causing death by dangerous driving.

She also denies causing serious injury by dangerous driving and two charges of dangerous driving.

The jury has been told Miss Taylor had begun a relationship with Miss Pesticcio's ex-boyfriend Michael Wheeler, 22, which led to "prolonged hostility" between the two women.

Miss Taylor was allegedly being pursued by Wheeler and Miss Presticcio, who was driving her own BMW.

She crashed into the wall after colliding at high speed with Wheeler's Vauxhall Corsa.

Wheeler has already admitted causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury.

The court heard that days before the crash, Miss Taylor taunted Miss Pesticcio with messages about losing her lover, such as "It's never going to be you and him any more".

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Melissa Pesticcio denies causing death by dangerous driving

She also called her a "hoe" and wrote: "He doesn't like you. He doesn't love you. Why don't you just move on."

Christopher Rees, defending, said Miss Pesticcio had been in a "proper ongoing long-term relationship with Wheeler, and was living with him at his parent's home when he began speaking to Sophie".

Georgia Flavin, Miss Taylor's best friend, agreed with Mr Rees that Miss Taylor was "no shrinking violet" and "wasn't afraid about speaking her mind".

Mr Rees said: "One of Sophie's issues in the July and August was the overlap with Pesticcio's relationship with Michael Wheeler."

Miss Flavin said she was with Miss Taylor on two occasions when Miss Pesticcio tried to intimidate her friend.

She told how Miss Pesticcio pulled up in her car with Wheeler's sister and her children alongside Miss Taylor and shouted abuse at her in the street.

Miss Flavin said: "There was shouting and Sophie just kept her mouth shut and said nothing. It was quite nasty."

She said she was also with Miss Taylor when Miss Pesticcio chased her out of a McDonald's car park five days before the fatal crash in her car.

Miss Flavin said: "We stopped at the lights. Pesticcio drove beside us, rolled down the windows and was just shouting things.

"When the lights went green Pesticcio drove forward and pulled in front and braked so we had to do an emergency stop so we didn't go into the back of her."

The prosecution's case is it was Wheeler's Vauxhall Corsa which collided with Miss Taylor's car, directly causing the fatal crash, but he claimed Miss Pesticcio was also responsible after taking "a main role in the protracted pursuit".

The court has heard Miss Taylor's friend, who was a passenger in her car, suffered "life-changing injuries" as a result of the crash.

The trial continues.

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