Man Convicted Of Attempted Murder Of Cyclist In Reading

1 April 2019, 16:16 | Updated: 1 April 2019, 16:21

Reading Crown Court

A man who deliberately drove into a cyclist in Reading, breaking both of his legs, has been convicted of attempted murder.

Mark Whittaker, aged 45, of no fixed abode, was found guilty after a trial at Reading Crown Court which lasted five days.

At around 5.20am on Friday 12 October 2018, Whittaker drove his vehicle from Portsmouth to Reading and waited on Northumberland Avenue for the victim to cycle past.

Whittaker had earlier sent the victim, Darren Fordred, aged 38, a series of text messages threatening to kill him.

Whittaker followed Mr Fordred, who was cycling on the pavement towards Reading town centre before mounting the pavement and deliberately hitting him at a speed of 32 miles per hour.

The force of the impact resulted in several breaks to Mr Fordred’s legs.

The impact lifted Mr Fordred onto the windscreen and then, when the vehicle hit metal railings, launched him through these.

The railings caused deep wounds to Mr Fordred’s legs and he sustained compound fractures of both femurs.

When Whittaker’s car came to a rest, he got out of his car and proceeded to kick, stamp, punch and strangle Mr Fordred.

On police arrival, Whittaker admitted it was an intentional hit and run.

In his trial at Reading Crown Court, Whittaker had denied attempted murder, but admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He was convicted of attempted murder on Friday (29/3).

As a result of the incident, Mr Fordred required surgery on both broken legs and skin grafts, which has left him with life-long scarring.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Peter Cave of Force CID based at Reading police station, said: 

“This was a horrific incident in which Whittaker deliberately used his vehicle as a weapon to harm Mr Fordred.

“There was some degree of pre-meditation in Whittaker’s actions as he had driven from Portsmouth to confront his victim.

“Whittaker knew what the impact of his decision would be, and the jury rejected his not guilty plea to attempted murder and convicted him.

“The impact on Mr Fordred, both at the time and now, has been enormous.

“I would like to praise him for his courage throughout, and I am pleased that Whittaker has been convicted.”

Whittaker will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Monday 29 April.