A driver who left another man for dead in the road after dragging him more than half a mile in a “cruel” revenge attack will spend at least 30 years behind bars.
Martin Eastwood, 22, killed Liam Dent, 25, using a stolen Ford S-Max as a weapon after a minor confrontation outside a pub in Chessington, south-west London.
Shortly after leaving the Lucky Rover pub, Eastwood, from Epsom in Surrey, hit his victim with the car before dragging him along the road at speeds of 32mph in the early hours of 26 July, 2019.
Dent was still conscious and screaming out for help when he became free of the car but did not survive the “horrific injuries” inflicted on him by Eastwood.
Eastwood was found guilty of murder following an Old Bailey trial and was given a life sentence, with a minimum of 30 years in jail, on Wednesday.
“If he did not realise at first someone was dragged under the car he must have realised it almost immediately after,” Judge Wendy Joseph said, adding that Eastwood must have heard his victim’s screams.
She added: “There is no way around it – this was a cruel death.”
The court heard that Eastwood had been convicted of two earlier incidents in which he used a car as a weapon.
The Ford was later found burnt out, but its telematics system was recovered, containing vital details of the car’s route and speed and the nature of the driving.
Dent’s family rushed to the scene in Moor Lane and his mother Stacey Dent told the court her son’s death was “the absolute worst it could be”. “On the night this happened, when I went to my son lying in the road, I could see all his injuries, Martin, I could see he had to be in so much pain from beginning to end,” she said.
“I could see immediately despite the attempts to keep him with us that he was not going to survive and my heart was completely ripped apart and it remains that way. I cry every single day.
“I tried in the beginning to convince my children that Liam would have been unconscious on impact when he drove into him. But the evidence rolled out in court and it proved the absolute worst it could be. He was tortured and he was left for dead screaming for help.”
During the Old Bailey trial, she directly addressed her son’s killer, asking: “Why couldn’t you have just stopped and spared my son his life? Martin Eastwood should never be allowed a single day of normal life. He robbed my son’s life, his children have been robbed of a father and me of my son.
“On more than one occasion, Martin, you choose not to stop and spare my son, you chose to carry on driving with him and taking him to his death.”
Eastwood received concurrent sentences for grievous bodily harm with intent, attempted grievous bodily harm with intent and robbery.
Eastwood’s friend Daniel Morris, 22, who admitted manslaughter, drove behind in a Volvo, frantically honking his horn for him to stop. He was jailed for five-and-a-half years for his role in the killing.
Meanwhile, Eastwood’s girlfriend, Jasmine Robinson, 19, of Epsom, was found guilty of assisting an offender. She was sentenced to two years’ custody, suspended for two years.