Derbyshire pensioner 'revved his car like a racing driver' as he accelerated towards Chesterfield man, murder trial told
The brother of a Chesterfield man who died after he was hit by a car by the father of the man they had been chasing as part of a “bad blood” conflict between two families has described how he flipped twice through the air.
Andrew Thorpe died days after he was struck by the vehicle, being driven by pensioner John Hodgkiss, on Rotherham Road, Clowne, around the corner from his home in Barlborough Road in the early hours of July 26, 2019.
Hodgkiss, 68, denies both murder and the alternative charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
The court had previously heard that problems had been brewing up for around six weeks between the two families, after the relationship stalled between Hodgkiss’ son Shane, and Mr Thorpe’s younger sister Amy.
Matters came to ahead when Mr Thorpe bought a small trailer from his younger sister a few weeks earlier, and she wanted it back so she and Shane Hodgkiss could go on holiday.
The court heard that Shane Hodgkiss had intimidated the family in the weeks before the tragedy, pulling wheel-spins in his red Mini outside various family members’ homes and had sent Mr Thorpe a series of text messages, one stating, “You and your family are going to get wiped out”.
On the second day of the trial at Derby Crown Court, Nicholas Thorpe, described how he had been called by his brother at around 11.30pm on July 25, and asked for his help to move the trailer back to Hodgkiss’ home, following a family barbecue.
He described how Shane Hodgkiss had circled past them on a couple of occasions as they made the one-mile journey from Barlborough on foot with the trailer, enraging Andrew Thorpe, who had chased his vehicle on one occasion, and eventually damaging the trailer and dumping it in a field.
As they got to Clowne, Shane Hodgkiss had called after them, and Andrew Thorpe had chased after him, the pair of them disappearing over a fence on Rotherham Road.
When he had returned, they saw Shane Hodgkiss’ car parked on the side of the road, and Andrew Thorpe had caused damage to both wing mirrors and had threatened to smash the windows.
Describing the moment when Thorpe had gotten into his car, following a six-minute phone conversation with his son, Nicholas Thorpe said: “I saw John Hodgkiss’ car at the junction of the lane and Andrew started running towards the car up Rotherham Road and, at that point, he put his foot down.
“It was like a racing car driver. You could hear the engine over-revving and he was driving at between 40 and 50 mph. It didn’t slow down at all and Andrew hit his head on the windscreen and flipped over in the air a couple of times.
“He stopped on the other side of the road and turned around. The car was still revving and I thought he was trying to put it into gear because you could hear them grinding. I thought he was going to come after me. I ran over and punched him a couple of times and took the keys.”
The trial continues.