Car park row death: Man denies driving at victim

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Christopher GaddImage source, Wales News Service
Image caption,
Christopher Gadd died outside the Sainsbury's supermarket in Pontllanfraith

A learner driver accused of killing a man in a supermarket car park has denied deliberately driving towards the victim.

Christopher Gadd, 48, died in Sainsbury's car park in Pontllanfraith, Caerphilly county, in March.

Timothy Higgins, 22, of Blackwood, told the jury he heard a faint thud during the collision and looked back to see Mr Gadd on the ground.

He denies manslaughter and driving without a licence or insurance.

Cardiff Crown Court heard he had previously had an altercation with Mr Gadd and his brother in the car park.

Mr Higgins told the jury a car in which Mr Gadd was a passenger had briefly blocked his way.

He said after that happened he could see the men gesturing and shouting "come on then".

Mr Higgins told the court he swore at them "as a brush off because they were screaming and shouting".

Image caption,
Timothy Higgins denies manslaughter and driving without a licence or insurance

As he drove to leave the car park, Mr Higgins said he saw the men again within an arm's length of the car he was driving.

He said one of the men was gesturing by punching his fist into his palm.

Mr Higgins told the jury: "I was scared as two grown men were shouting at me. I live a quiet life. I don't look for trouble, I never have.

"They could have dragged me out of the car, they could have smashed the car windows."

He said he had also been scared for the passengers in the car with him.

Asked what he did next, Mr Higgins told the court he carried on driving without accelerating or altering his position on the road.

Defence counsel Paul Lewis QC asked him: "Did you deliberately steer your vehicle so as to hit Mr Gadd?"

Mr Higgins replied: "No."

He also said "no" when he was asked: "Did you make any attempt to manoeuvre your vehicle towards Christopher Gadd?"

He said he had not been telling the truth when he previously told police he swerved towards Mr Gadd.

He said he had said it after his legal representative - who no longer represents him - said it would mean he would be given a shorter prison sentence.

"I didn't want to be away from them [his family] for that long, especially for something I hadn't done," he said.

Mr Higgins told the court that, following the collision, Mr Gadd's brother spoke to him and said "he's dead" before walking off.

The trial continues.

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