2 Men Convicted of Manslaughter After Man Died In Hullbridge

24 October 2018, 17:10 | Updated: 24 October 2018, 17:14

Two men have been convicted of manslaughter after a man died during an alleged robbery.

Two men have been convicted of manslaughter after a man died during an alleged robbery.

Tim Smith and his wife had spent the evening in a Hullbridge pub with a family they knew socially. They then drove the short distance back to the other family’s home in The Drive.

Waiting for them were Andrew McVicar and Colin Garrod, who had arrived in the area four hours earlier.

Wearing balaclavas and armed with what appeared to be a gun, they approached the four adults and 14-year-old girl as they got out of the car.

McVicar and Garrod demanded they get into the bungalow. As the victims went inside, one of the men pushed Mr Smith in the back. He fell and banged his head on a low brick wall.

One of the suspects then spoke with the homeowner, saying he knew why they were there. Believing they were after money, he directed them to a holdall that he said contained around £5,000.

They took the bag, hauled Mr Smith into the hallway and left. The whole incident lasted less than five minutes.

Mr Smith, 57, was treated at the scene by paramedics and airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge following the incident on March 19, 2017. Sadly he suffered a catastrophic brain injury and never regained consciousness. He died in hospital on March 20.

Officers trawled through CCTV footage and discovered Garrod’s work van which was fitted with a tracker had visited The Drive on March 16 for around 20 minutes.

On March 19, the van arrived in Hullbridge shortly after 7.10pm and drove past The Anchor pub where the victims were socialising - before parking in Wallace Close.

CCTV showed McVicar and Garrod sitting in a bus stop for around an hour before walking to The Drive just before the victims arrived at the bungalow.

During the investigation, police found the empty holdall at Garrod’s then home, a bedsit in Crowborough Road, Southend. He was arrested in Newbury, Berkshire, on March 23 and found with £525 in his wallet, a new iPhone 7 that had been bought for cash two days previously and a bag containing about £1,000. He had also recently deposited more than £1,500 into his bank accounts.

The stolen holdall had forensic evidence linking it to McVicar, who had travelled in a hire car to Lancaster with Jamie Caborn the day after the robbery and on to Livingston in Scotland.

Both had been on spending sprees in Basildon and Livingston and McVicar had given around £10,000 to Caborn and paid for an engagement ring on his behalf.

When Caborn was arrested at his home in Luncies Road, Basildon, on March 25, police found a number of new trainers and £2,180 cash. Just over £5,000 was also found in the boot of the hire car.

McVicar, formerly of Dewsgreen, Basildon, was arrested in the Harthill area of north Lanarkshire on March 31. He had £22,490 in his possession.

McVicar, 35, and Garrod, 51, were each charged with the manslaughter of Tim Smith, affray and possession of an imitation firearm, which they denied. McVicar and Garrod stood trial at Basildon Crown Court on Monday, October 1 this year.

They were found guilty of all three charges today, Wednesday, October 24.

They had admitted charges of possession of criminal property at previous hearings in December 2017 and January 2018.

Caborn, 29, was charged with possession of criminal property, which he admitted when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court on January 22, 2018.

They will be sentenced on November 2.

Police recovered around £34,000 in total from them and an application for a confiscation order will be made under Proceeds of Crime Act in due course.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was an appalling crime carried out by violent, lifestyle criminals. My thoughts are very much with Tim Smith’s family, who have shown incredible dignity throughout the trial; even when being subject to unwelcome comments in the public gallery by McVicar’s supporters. Now that we have reached the end of this very long process I hope that they can begin to rebuild their lives."

Mr Smith’s son, Adam Pighini, said: "On behalf of the whole family we would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who has worked tirelessly to get justice for Tim. This is a tragic situation that we as a family have found ourselves in, but we have had our faith in humanity restored through the amazing support of our family, friends, local community, and medical professionals that worked so hard to try and save Tim’s life. We will now try to move forward the best we can with our lives and want Tim to be remembered as the kind, funny and caring family man that he was."