Man jailed for murdering friend by running him over after argument in pub

Sam Russell, PA
·2-min read

A man who drove 320 metres with his friend trapped underneath his van after they argued in a pub has been jailed for at least 15 years for his murder.

Father-of-four Craig Garton, 42, drove his grey Ford Transit van at 41-year-old Dean Clark, who was also a father-of-four, after they were both kicked out of The Blacksmiths Arms pub in Little Clacton in Essex at around 11pm on February 7 last year.

Mr Clark, who was 6ft 1ins tall and weighed 18-and-a-half stone, was knocked to the floor and became trapped underneath the van.

Garton, who drove off with his friend under the vehicle, was found guilty of murder following an earlier trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Craig Garton court case
Dean Clark, 41, who was killed by his friend Craig Garton, 42 (Essex Police/ PA)

Judge Christopher Morgan told the defendant: “You drove 320 metres with Dean Clark under your van and, as you must accept now, the further you drove the more certain it would be that death would occur.”

He said the van only stopped when it hit a bus stop, as the vehicle’s steering was affected by Mr Clark being trapped underneath.

“What that argument was about will never be known,” he said.

He said Garton was remorseful and there was a lack of pre-meditation.

In a victim personal statement read to the court, Mr Clark’s long-term partner Emma Clark said: “He was my world.”

She said that their four children had been “robbed of their father”, adding: “They will now have to grow up with a huge hole in their lives.”

Essex Police said that the defendant, of Upper Branston Road, Clacton, told officers after he was arrested: “I went out for a few drinks and ended up killing my mate.”

A breath test showed he was over the drink-drive alcohol limit.

Garton was jailed for life and must serve 15 years before he can be considered for parole.

He was also banned from driving for 18 years.