Used car dealer convicted of manslaughter after crushing a pedestrian to death with his Range Rover

  • Plymouth car dealer facing lengthy stint behind bars following manslaughter conviction
  • Luke Dann crushed David Kelly beneath his Range Rover after the pair argued in the street
  • Victim died after sustaining ‘significant injuries’ in ‘aggressive and reckless’ attack
  • Defendant cleared of more serious murder charge after trial at Plymouth Crown Court

Time 8:45 am, September 13, 2023

A used car dealer has been convicted of manslaughter after he drove his Range Rover over a pedestrian.

Luke Dann, 37, was cleared of the murder of David Kelly but a jury unanimously found him guilty of manslaughter, following a trial at Plymouth Crown Court.

The incident, which also took place in Plymouth, saw Dann crush the 42-year-old underneath his SUV, leaving him with ‘unsurvivable’ injuries.

He is due to be sentenced later today (Sep 13) and is likely to be facing a lengthy stint behind bars after being found responsible for the death.

The court heard that on the night of the incident (March 21), the defendant 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 become engaged in 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.

David Kelly from Plymouth, handout via police and PA

David Kelly (Family handout)

According to the BBC, witnesses told 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.

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

He then drove to a nearby branch of Costa Coffee before officers arrived and arrested him on suspicion of murder.

Bodycam footage captured at that time showed the killer telling police ‘I sell different cars’ when quizzed on whether he owned the black Range Rover involved in the incident.

According to Companies House, he ran his own dealership – Luke Dann Motors Ltd – from 2007 until it was dissolved in 2010.

‘Dann refused to take responsibility for his actions’

The guilty verdict was welcomed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who worked tirelessly to build the case against Dann.

Following the ruling, Ria Park, senior crown prosecutor for the CPS South West, said the defendant had displayed ‘aggressive and reckless behaviour’.

She said: ‘Luke Dann’s aggressive and reckless behaviour cost David Kelly his life. Dann refused to take responsibility for his actions.

‘However, following a thorough investigation, the CPS was able to build and present a strong case to the jury who agreed that the defendant hit Mr Kelly with his car, resulting in his tragic death.

‘Nothing can bring Mr Kelly back to his loved ones, but I hope this conviction goes some way to comfort them at this difficult time. All drivers have a duty to act responsibly whilst behind the wheel of a vehicle; this case shows the devastating consequences of not doing so.’

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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