Toddbury Farm murder: Accused 'aggressive and threatening'

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Patrick MaloneyImage source, Bedfordshire Police
Image caption,
Father-of-three Patrick Maloney died after being hit by a vehicle at a travellers' site in Bedfordshire

A "simmering feud" between two traveller families led to a man being murdered, a court has heard.

Patrick Maloney, 43, died from multiple injuries after he was hit by a van which dragged him across gravel at Toddbury Farm, Little Billington, near Leighton Buzzard.

At Luton Crown Court, Christopher McCarthy, 22, from the Greenacres site, denied murdering Mr Maloney in August.

His brother, Thomas, 24, pleaded not guilty to causing actual bodily harm.

The court was told nothing could be done by medical staff for the father-of-three, who was described by the prosecutor Miranda Moore QC as a "gentle giant".

Ms Moore told the jury that what happened was "the culmination of a simmering feud between two travelling families."

She said just before 22:30 GMT Thomas McCarthy went to the Maloney's plot in his BMW to pick a fight.

Image source, sbna
Image caption,
Toddbury Farm traveller's site near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

The court was told he allegedly struck Mr Maloney with two punches, causing his nose to bleed, before he, his younger brother and cousin ran off.

"His body language was aggressive and threatening. He comes up and faces Patrick, who is standing outside his own home.

"Patrick pushes Thomas back because he was getting in his face," Ms Moore said.

The court heard the BMW left behind was "trashed" by the Maloneys.

A second car was allegedly attacked by the Maloney group before Christopher McCarthy drove a van at Patrick Maloney.

Ms Moore said: "It hit him and dragged his body along the gravel on a vacant plot before doing a circle movement around the plot and leaving the scene."

The court heard that in a statement to police, Christopher McCarthy said Mr Maloney was holding a machete and attacking vehicles with three or four others.

He told police he drove at Mr Maloney expecting him to get out of the way.

The case continues.

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