‘Shameful’ used car dealer handed 15-year prison sentence for crushing pedestrian to death with his Range Rover

  • Car dealer killer jailed for 15 years
  • Luke Dann used his Range Rover to crush pedestrian David Kelly to death
  • Judge says Dann’s ego played a part in attack and described his actions as ‘shameful’
  • 37-year-old will serve two-thirds of his sentence before being released on licence

Time 8:30 am, September 14, 2023

A used car dealer from Plymouth will spend the next decade behind bars after being found guilty of manslaughter.

Car Dealer reported yesterday (Sep 12) how Luke Dann used his Range Rover to crush pedestrian David Kelly to death following a row between the pair earlier this year.

Despite being cleared of murder by a jury at Plymouth Crown Court, he was unanimously convicted on the lesser charge of manslaughter and he returned to the dock to be sentenced.

Judge Peter Johnson handed down a 15-year prison sentence, telling Dann he will serve two-thirds of it before being released on licence.

The 37-year-old was also given a seven-year driving ban as a result of the incident.

Giving his thoughts on the case, the judge told Dann that he ‘deliberately’ drove at his victim and that his ego had a ‘major part to play’ in the death of David Kelly.

‘It is clear your ego had a major part to play. No doubt you felt offended in some way and wanted to show Mr Kelly that you were not a man to be insulted,’ he said.

The judge added: ‘There has not been any expression of remorse for what you have done.’

The court had previously been told that Dann had been driving home after spending the evening in a nearby snooker club.

On the course of his journey home, he came across Kelly, who was waiting to ‘pick up drugs’ from an unknown dealer.

The jury was told that the pair got into an argument, possibly after the victim asked Dann if he had any drugs.

Adam Vaitilingam KC, prosecuting, said it was at this point that the car dealer became abusive and attacked Kelly with his Range Rover.

According to the BBC, witnesses reported hearing ‘shouting, the sound of an engine revving and a thud’.

Kelly was dragged underneath the vehicle, which was travelling at low speed, before it rolled over his torso, face and leg – causing crushing to his skull and ribs.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Kelly sustained ‘significant injuries’ in the attack, including a major brain injury and several skull fractures.

He also suffered skeletal injuries and blows to the front and back of the chest. Elsewhere, his aorta was ‘completely cut through’, preventing blood supply.

Luke Dann (© Devon and Cornwall Police)

Following the altercation, Dann fled from the scene and dialled 999, claiming to have been attacked himself.

In his summing-up, the judge described Dann’s actions as ‘shameful’ and rejected his claims of self-defence.

He said: ‘Shamefully, you called 999 not to summon help for Mr Kelly but to lay the ground for a defence about being the victim of an attack – which you were but not in the circumstances you describe – and you driving off in panic.

‘I do not believe you felt under any kind of threat at that time.

‘I cannot imagine why you did not tell the operator that you had just driven over a person unless it was to preserve your position.

‘You were just thinking of yourself.’

David Kelly from Plymouth, handout via police and PA

David Kelly (Family handout)

According to Companies House, Dann was a director of his own car dealership, Luke Dann Motors, between 2007 and 2010.

The Plymouth Herald reports that he opened his first dealership aged 18 and was later involved in another business, Billacombe Motors, which was the target of a petrol-bomb attack in 2011.

The following year. the firm – by that point named Charles Finlay Cars – saw 18 vehicles seized by police as part of a suspected money laundering probe.

Main image: Plymouth Crown Court (PA Images)

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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