Man who was on the run for 24 years is finally jailed for killing two cyclists in Cheshire

A man who was on the run for 24 years has been jailed for causing the deaths of two cyclists by driving dangerously.

Huseyin Ozkara, 53, was extradited from France on 27 March to face the consequences of his actions, following a cold case review by Cheshire Constabulary’s Force Intelligence Unit in 2023.

He appeared at Chester Crown Court on Thursday 2 May to be sentenced for causing the death of two men, Bryan Kenealy, 69, from Woolton, Liverpool and Roger Harris, 66, who had been living Crewe, by dangerous driving.

Ozkara was found guilty of the two counts on 1 August 2000 and was bailed to be sentenced on 15 September 2000. However, he failed to show up at court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Despite best efforts Ozkara had remained at large until now.

He was finally sentenced to 12 years and eight months in prison.

Bryan and Roger were friends and the pair had been cycling together in Cheshire on 2 November 1999 when Ozkara failed to stop and give way at the junction of Wood Lane and Willington Lane, near Clotton. He collided with another car and in turn the vehicles collided with both cyclists. Sadly, both men died shortly afterwards from their injuries.

Officers over the years had tried to locate Ozkara, making numerous enquiries into his whereabouts and he also featured in an appeal on BBC’s Crimewatch.

Despite there being no record of Ozkara leaving the UK or of his whereabouts, he came to the attention of French police in 2008 and 2009, but Ozkara remained undetected.

DCI Amber Hodson, who led the review said: “Ozkara was always on our radar, however, with technology rapidly improving the tools of our trade in recent years, our ability to find those who deny victims and their families the justice they deserve quadruples. That’s something we’re really proud of and keeps us doggedly on the trail of those who seek to evade justice – no matter how long they have been wanted for and where in the world they are hiding.”

Detectives used specialist technology to trawl social media. Pictures of a man matching Ozkara but with a different surname led officers to believe he was still living in France. Liaising with the French authorities, they now had an address for Ozkara.

DCI Hodson said: “We believe Ozkara had been living illegally in France under an alias to prevent being detected and has probably done so since 2000. We worked with CPS to extradite Ozkara back to the UK and informed the relatives of the two men.

“To see him finally in court to face the judge was a bittersweet moment. This should have happened decades ago, but Ozkara selfishly denied families closure and has wrought long-suffering hurt and distress to the families, but we are so pleased and thankful that we and the family finally got to see him get the justice he deserves.

“The lives of the families of Bryan Kenealy and Roger Harris changed forever when they were taken from them that day – a day that should have been an enjoyable bike ride on an autumnal sunny day. Now, 24 years on, they have finally got the justice Ozkara had denied them.”

Roger’s daughter said in her victim impact statement that she had been traumatised by her father’s violent death but that the impact was intolerable for her mum who spent years trying to find Ozkara. Her mum sadly died 10 years after Roger’s death.

She said: “Ozkara took from us and was too cowardly to face the consequences. I hope that now we get to face him in court and get justice for my dad and my mum.”

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