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11 January 2019, 18:39 | Updated: 11 January 2019, 19:09
A man from Hemel Hempstead has been jailed for life for deliberately running over a woman he knew with his car.
Police were called at 1212am on Monday, January 15, 2018, to reports of a collision in Queensway in Hemel Hempstead town centre; when they arrived they found a grey Volvo XC90 had collided with a pedestrian before the car had then smashed into a shop front.
The pedestrian, Natalie Hastings, 41, from Hemel Hempstead, was taken to hospital where she passed away a day later as a result of her injuries.
Simon Whittle, 49 (pictured), of Fletcher Way, Hemel Hempstead, has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 20 years.
Judge Gratwicke said:
"On the clearest of evidence you carried out the brutal and merciless killing of Natalie Hastings. She was alone and anyone who watched the CCTV could only feel sickness and revulsion.
You pursued her, you made your intentions clear, not just by what you did but as you hunted her down.
You are, in my judgement, a callous and ruthless individual who will unleash extreme violence to anyone who crosses your path."
Detective Constable Heidi Kerlin, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said:
"Simon Whittles despicable actions that night have left Natalie’s family devastated and although this sentence will not bring her back I hope that it can go some way to helping them cope with their devastation, as they try and move forwards with their life without her."
In a victim impact statement, Natalie’s sister Stacey said:
"There is no better friend than a sister and no better sister than Natalie. Natalie lived for life, she had a passion for everything that life had to offer and a heart that was made of solid gold.
Her laugh and love was infectious and the bond I shared with my sister even in death is unbreakable. I can’t even begin to brush the surface of her loss and what it has done to our family."