Man run over by girlfriend ‘clicked’ with woman at party, murder trial told

A man who was run over by his girlfriend had “clicked” with another woman at a party in the hours before, a court has heard.

Alice Wood, 23, is accused of murdering her boyfriend Ryan Watson, 24, near the home they shared in Rode Heath, Cheshire, on May 6 last year.

On Tuesday, a trial at Chester Crown Court heard the evidence of party guests who had been with the couple earlier in the evening.

The court heard they had been at a 60th birthday party for a service user of the Headway brain injury charity, which Mr Watson was a support worker for.

Tiffany Ferriday said she had been at the party with her mother, who also used the charity, and sat at a table with Mr Watson and Wood.

She described Mr Watson, who she had met a couple of times before, as “very happy”, “jolly” and “bubbly”.

She said: “Ryan was the light of the table. He was dancing with us all, he was involving everyone. Alice didn’t really seem to get involved.”

Miss Ferriday confirmed to the court that she and Mr Watson had “clicked” and agreed Wood was “pretty much left out” of conversation.

She said that at one point, Wood told Mr Watson: “Watch what you’re drinking.”

Miss Ferriday said she felt like she was “getting stared at” by Wood for much of the night.

In cross-examination, Miss Ferriday agreed she thought Wood was staring at her because of the way she and Mr Watson behaved with each other.

Gudrun Young KC, defending, suggested she could “perhaps hardly blame her”, but was told by Judge Michael Leeming that that was comment.

Chester Crown Court
The trial was being held at Chester Crown Court (Pete Byrne/PA)

The court heard Miss Ferriday left the party before Mr Watson and Wood but shortly after 11pm received three missed calls from an Instagram account called Ry, which she later learned was Mr Watson’s account.

The witness, who broke down in tears at points during her evidence, said she tried to ring back but that there was no answer and she sent a message saying “who’s this?”

In a statement which was read to the court, the couple’s neighbour Elaine Abbott said that some time after 11pm she heard the footsteps of two people she believed to be Mr Watson and Wood returning to their home on Oak Street.

She said: “I heard Ryan shout something like ‘oh God, not this again’. I then heard footsteps walking away.”

The court was shown CCTV of the moment Mr Watson was knocked over by Wood, driving the Ford Fiesta.

Footage showed Wood reverse the car as Mr Watson stood behind it, hitting his Fiat Punto which was parked behind and hitting a concrete bollard and metal bin.

Mr Watson was then seen to walk along the pavement as the car was reversed into the road.

The CCTV showed the car turn off the road onto the pavement, hitting Mr Watson, before reversing back as he stood up and then hitting him again.

Detective Constable Nadine Sturgess told the court the vehicle could be seen to rise as it drove forward.

She told the court: “Mr Watson is underneath the black Fiesta as it drives up the road.”

The jury was told a man’s scream could be heard on a nearby CCTV camera at the moment Mr Watson went under the car, at 11.24pm.

Two of Mr Watson’s family members left the court crying after the footage was shown.

Wood, wearing a striped shirt and blazer with her long blonde hair in a plait, was also in tears.

Rebecca Callister, who lives on Sandbach Road, told the court she was woken by the sound of metal crunching at about 11.30pm and when she looked out of the window, saw a man arguing with someone inside a car.

She said she saw the car moving forwards towards the man.

She added: “It looked like it was designed to intimidate and scare them a little bit.”

The prosecution allege Wood “lost her temper” and killed Mr Watson, hitting him with her Ford Fiesta and driving 158 metres with him underneath the car.

She denies murder.