UK

‘Jealous’ woman who ran over fiance after birthday party row found guilty of murder

A “jealous” woman who ran over her fiance after an argument following a party has been found guilty of murder.

Prosecutors said Manchester University student Alice Wood, 23, used her Ford Fiesta as a weapon against partner Ryan Watson, 24, near the home they shared in Rode Heath, Cheshire, at about 11.30pm on 6 May 2022.

Chester Crown Court heard she “lost her temper” in an argument after the couple had been at a birthday party in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, for a user of the Headway brain injury charity, where Mr Watson was a support worker.

The court heard the pair argued over who was driving home and Wood accused Mr Watson of flirting with a woman.

Wood denied murder and manslaughter, claiming she did not realise Mr Watson was trapped under her car when she drove 158m before stopping.

A jury found her guilty of murder.

Undated handout photo issued by Cheshire Police of Ryan Watson, Alice Wood, 22, appeared via videolink from HMP Styal at Chester Crown Court on Friday charged with the murder of the 24-year-old, who was hit by a Ford Fiesta Zetec in Rode Heath, Cheshire, on May 6. Issue date: Monday May 30, 2022.
Image:
Ryan Watson was hit by Wood’s Ford Fiesta

David Jones, senior Crown Prosecution Service prosecutor, said: “This was a tragic loss of life of a young man with his whole life ahead of him.

More on Cheshire

“Under the influence of alcohol, it was clear that Alice Wood’s jealousy was ammunition enough for her to brutally kill her partner.

“Though it will never make up for their devastating loss, I hope today’s conviction brings Ryan’s family some solace, knowing his murderer has been brought to justice.”

Wood and Mr Watson got engaged in September 2020 and bought a house together in October 2021.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the moment Mr Watson was hit by the car, which reversed before hitting Mr Watson’s car, a bin and a bollard.

Alice Wood leaves Chester Crown Court during her trial
Image:
Alice Wood ran over fiance Ryan Watson

The car is seen reversing into Sandbach Road as Mr Watson walks away before swerving off the road towards him, appearing to knock him on to the bonnet.

Mr Watson was able to stand but prosecutor Andrew Ford KC told Wood’s trial she drove straight into him for a second time “head on”.

“This time he did not go over the bonnet – she knocked him clean over, under the vehicle’s front end,” he said.

Giving evidence through tears, Wood said she stopped the car and got out after a short distance because she felt it was not accelerating properly.

“It was like stepping into a nightmare because I could see Ryan underneath the car,” she said.

“It was like I was in hell. It didn’t seem real.”

She then knocked on the door of a nearby house and told residents: “Please phone an ambulance. I think I’ve ran over my boyfriend.”

Wood, who said she had been awarded a scholarship for a research masters and had been studying for her final exams in theology, philosophy, and ethics, was found to have 61 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, compared with the legal limit of 35, the court heard.

She said she had drunk two glasses of white wine, two rums and a glass of champagne.

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