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21 years jail for
21 years jail for

21 years jail for mounting the pavement in his car and mowing down man

A man who was convicted of attempted murder in Reading has been jailed for 21 years.

Mark Whittaker, aged 45, of no fixed abode, was found guilty by unanimous verdict on 29 March following a trial lasting five days at Reading Crown Court.

He returned to the same court today (29/4) and was sentenced to 21 years in prison, with a further three years on licence.

The incident occurred at 5.20am on Friday 12 October 2018 when Whittaker drove his vehicle from Portsmouth to Reading. He waited in Northumberland Avenue for his victim, Darren Fordred, aged 38, to cycle past. When he saw him cycling on the pavement, he deliberately mounted the pavement in his car, hitting Mr Fordred at a speed of more than 30 miles per hour.

The impact lifted him onto the windscreen, and when Whittaker’s vehicle hit metal railings, it launched him through these.

The force of the impact resulted in serious injuries. The railings caused deep wounds to his 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 on, punch and strangle Mr Fordred.

Earlier, Whittaker had sent the victim abusive and threatening text messages which suggested he wanted to kill Mr Fordred.

On police arrival, Whittaker admitted it was an intentional act.

He was arrested at the scene of the incident and was charged the following day (13/10).

Mr Fordred required surgery on both broken legs and skin grafts, which has left him with permanent scarring.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Peter Cave, of Force CID based at Reading police station, said: “Whittaker’s actions that evening will have a life-long impact on Mr Fordred.

“This was a horrific and totally unnecessary attack in which Whittaker callously and deliberately used his vehicle as a weapon.

“This was a pre-meditated attack, given that Whittaker had driven from Portsmouth to confront his victim. He had ample opportunity to reconsider his actions but went ahead with this vicious attack.

“He knew the dangerous nature of his decision, and after the jury rejected his not guilty plea and convicted him of attempted murder, Whittaker repeatedly failed to show any remorse for his actions.

“I hope the sentence handed down by the court can bring some kind of closure to Mr Fordred and his family. I would like to praise him for his courage throughout this ordeal, and Whittaker will now have a lengthy spell in prison to reflect on the reckless actions he and he alone, decided to take that morning.”