A Tibshelf man who killed an 87-year-old grandfather after driving into him at a bus stop in Mansfield Woodhouse has been handed a life sentence – with a minimum of 14 years to serve.
Gavin Collins, 39, formerly of Addison Street, Tibshelf, Derbyshire, was previously found guilty by a jury of manslaughter by diminished responsibility following the death of Terry Radford. It followed a five-week long trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
Collins was also found guilty of two counts of aggravated vehicle taking, two counts of burglary and one count of attempted robbery in connection with a series of incidents in Mansfield and Ashfield.
The judge had previously dismissed a charge of kidnap against Collins.
Collins burst into a man’s house in Tibshelf on the morning of 19 April 2019, grabbed a set of car keys and shouted he was borrowing the car before driving off towards Skegby in Nottinghamshire.
He was driving dangerously and at speed, overtaking vehicles, before he lost control and collided with a house on Mansfield Road.
The homeowner was outside and had to jump out of the way as the car hit his house. Collins asked the homeowner for the keys to his vehicle but he refused.
Collins then walked onto Mansfield Road towards another vehicle which had stopped. He got into a woman’s car and a short while later forced her out of it, onto the A38, and drove off towards Mansfield Woodhouse.
Minutes later Collins got out of the car, after colliding with some barriers, and approached a house on Worcester Avenue on foot.
He banged on the window shouting to be let in before picking up a slab from the garden and throwing it at the patio doors, causing them to shatter. Collins entered the property and threatened the occupants before leaving with the keys to their car.
He then went to a neighbouring property where he demanded the occupant remove a tag from his ankle.
Collins drove off in the car for about 20 yards before putting it into reverse. He reversed at speed, mounting the pavement, and hit Mr Radford who was stood at a bus stop on Worcester Avenue.
The air ambulance attended the scene but Mr Radford was sadly pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.
When police arrived at the scene and approached Collins, he rammed their car before attempting to make off. Another police vehicle rammed Collins’ car to try to get it to stop but he managed to drive off. He was arrested a short time later after colliding with a tree.
Mr Radford was a retired teacher having taught at Valley Comprehensive, now known as Outwood Academy Valley, Worksop, between 1979 and 1994. He was a former councillor on Mansfield Woodhouse in the 1960s and 70s and a local magistrate from the 1970s to 1994.
In a statement issued last year, paying tribute to Mr Radford, his family said: "We’re absolutely devastated at the loss of the most wonderful dad and grandad who was loved and respected by everyone.
"He was the hub of our family. He was 87 but remained intelligent, articulate and funny. He was great company to be with and was as sharp as a pin.
"He was extremely fit and most people took him for a healthy 70-year-old. Having looked after mum who had extreme dementia, and who we lost last September, he was finally getting his life back.
"He had three holidays planned for this year (2019) including to the USA and a European river cruise.
"Now he won’t get to live out those dreams and his family and wide circle of friends won’t get to share more great times with him.
"We ask for privacy at this extremely difficult and upsetting time."
Detective Inspector Becky Hodgman said: "This is a tragic set of circumstances that has obviously had a devastating and profound impact on Mr Radford’s family and friends.
“Our thoughts continue to be with them at this extremely difficult time as well as with those people affected by Collins’ actions that day.
“I would like to thank the officers and emergency services staff who responded to this incident and the team that subsequently worked thoroughly and professionally on a difficult investigation in order to secure this result at court today.”