Car thief jailed for killing ex-Navy hero
A burglar who murdered an ex-Royal Navy officer while stealing his car has been jailed for 27 years.
Ryan Gibbons, 29, took the Audi S3 from outside the house of former submarine engineer Mike Samwell, 35, in April.
The sound of Gibbons stealing the car woke Mr Samwell, who raced out to stop him.
In his bid to get away, Gibbons twice ran over Mr Samwell with his own vehicle in the driveway of the home in Chorlton, Manchester.
During the three-week murder trial at Manchester Crown Court, jurors heard from Mr Samwell’s weeping widow Jessica, 34. She spoke of her horror at seeing the car’s rear wheels sitting on her husband’s chest before it sped away.
Jurors took less than four hours on 31 October to find the father-of-four guilty of murdering the engineering firm worker.
Gibbons gave no reaction but there were gasps from his family in the public gallery and one said, “You’re joking”. His father shouted, “Love you, son” as he was taken down to the cells at Manchester Crown Court.
Gibbons had admitted burglary and aggravated vehicle-taking but denied murder. Two others with the pair at the time have not been caught by police.
Moments earlier Mr Samwell’s wife Jessica had read a poignant victim impact statement to the court. She spoke of her “overwhelming grief” as she watched her husband die.
The victim’s family praised their lost “hero”, stressing the verdicts left them with “a mixture of sadness and relief”.
Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Hughes of the Major Incident Team, said: “Instead of calling for help, or turning themselves in, these men actively chose to evade police after Gibbons took Samwell’s car and left Mike fighting for his life.
“The word tragedy is used too often these days, but no other word seems right to describe the utter devastation this pair left behind”.