Man found guilty of murder of Rebecca Steer, 22, by using a car as a weapon in Oswestry
A man has been found guilty of murdering a 22-year-old woman after hitting her with a car outside a takeaway in Shropshire.
Stephen McHugh "used his car as a weapon" to drive into a crowd of pedestrians in Oswestry and killed Rebecca Steer. He never owned a driver's licence.
McHugh, 28, told the court he had drunk six beers and 10 double shots of spirits, and had taken up to seven lines of cocaine before the collision at 2.45am on Sunday 9 October last year.
His car mounted the kerb outside the Grill Out restaurant in Oswestry and struck innocent bystander Ms Steer.
She was crushed underneath the vehicle and died of "catastrophic" injuries.
Prosecutor Kevin Hegarty KC had told the trial McHugh had stopped in the road and exchanged words with a group of people near the Grill Out.
Mr Hegarty told the court that after manoeuvring, McHugh proceeded to drive through the group, adding: "We say he used his car as a weapon - he used the power and the weight of the car to strike the group."
Three people, including two men who were "knocked aside" by the front wing, were hit.
"Rebecca Steer was more towards the front of the car and as the car increased its speed - as it went through the group, she was dragged down under the car," Mr Hegarty added.
In court, McHugh admitted to manslaughter and assault, claiming he was trying to frighten the pedestrians after an earlier altercation nearby.
Jurors at Stafford Crown Court voted by an 11-1 majority that McHugh was guilty of murder and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
When the murder verdict was announced, McHugh - originally from Liverpool, but living near Oswestry at the time of the attack - swore and walked quickly out of the dock before a decision was returned on the second charge.
It emerged after the trial that he has previous convictions related to drugs and the seizure of sawn-off shotgun in Merseyside in 2019.
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A statement from the victim's family said: "Rebecca Adelaide Steer, Becca to us, Becky to everyone else, was a pure joy to have as a daughter/sister and we all feel lucky to have had her in our lives, but we will always feel robbed.
"We all get to live a life, but through no fault of her own whatsoever, her life was taken from her by a few seconds of someone else's stupidity."
"Becca was and always will be 22 in our hearts, beautiful and amazing."
After the conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bellamy, of West Mercia Police, said: "This was a horrendous attack which tragically robbed an innocent young woman of her life while she was enjoying a night out with friends.
"I'm pleased that justice has been done today for Rebecca and my thoughts remain with her family.
"I pay tribute to the dignified way that they have conducted themselves throughout the trial, displaying venerable strength and resilience in listening to the contemptible and narcissistic behaviour of McHugh, who continually lied throughout the trial in a desperate attempt to escape justice.
"I am grateful that the jury saw through his web of lies and convicted him on the evidence presented to them."
McHugh has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday 5 May.