Alice Wood jailed for murdering her fiance after lying about 'tragic accident'

A woman who ran over her fiance after an argument has been jailed for his murder.

Alice Wood, 24, was sentenced at Chester Crown Court to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years for killing Ryan Watson.

The philosophy student ran over the 24-year-old after she "lost her temper" following a row at a party in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

The event was held to celebrate the birthday of 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, with Wood also accusing her partner of flirting with another woman.

She previously claimed her fiance died in a "tragic accident" when he was hit by the Ford Fiesta she was driving near their home in Rode Heath, Cheshire, at around 11.30pm on 6 May 2022.

Sentencing her on Friday, Judge Michael Leeming said: "Prison may be hard for you Alice Wood but you only have yourself to blame for the situation you now find yourself in."

The court heard Wood was preparing for her final exams in a theology, philosophy and ethics degree at the time of the murder and had a scholarship for a part-time research masters at Cambridge.

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Nigel Parr said Wood "used her vehicle as a weapon, while under the influence of alcohol, deliberately driving at him and even continuing to drive after knocking him down."

He added: "She knew what she had done, but she refused to take accountability for her actions, forcing Ryan's family to sit through a trial and watch footage of his final moments.

"Throughout the trial Wood proclaimed her innocence, but thankfully the jury saw through her lies, and she was found guilty of Ryan's murder.

"While nothing is going to bring Ryan back, I hope the sentence handed to Wood will bring some sense of closure for his family, knowing that justice has been served.

"Our thoughts remain with Ryan's family and friends at this time."

'I deserve it'

Cheshire Constabulary said Wood repeatedly and deliberately drove her car at Mr Watson, in what witnesses described as a game of "chicken" following the argument.

After they returned home to Oak Street, Rode Heath, shortly after 11pm, Wood was then seen on CCTV at around 11.20pm getting into her own car and reversing it out of its space, while Mr Watson was seen walking nearby.

The footage then showed Wood reversing her Ford Fiesta towards her partner and almost hitting him.

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She then drove towards Mr Watson a second time, causing him to be thrown onto the bonnet of the vehicle, with the back of his head hitting the windscreen, before he slid off and landed on his feet.

He was then seen walking away from the collision, but Wood deliberately drove at him a third time, again hitting him and causing him to go under the car.

Wood then drove for around 160 meters, with Mr Watson still under the vehicle, before stopping at a nearby address, where she told the resident: "Please phone an ambulance, I think I've run over my boyfriend."

Emergency services were called and paramedics pronounced Mr Watson dead at the scene. Officers attended and arrested Wood a day later.

While being arrested, she told officers: "It's fine, I deserve it."

'No true remorse'

Wood also failed a roadside breath test and was found to have 61 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - over the legal limit of 35.

Judge Leeming said he did not accept Wood's explanation that she only intended to "scare" her fiance by driving towards him that night.

"You accelerated towards him, giving him no chance to move away," he told Wood. "Your intention was then to cause him some harm."

"In the heat of the moment and having failed to injure him in the first strike, this time you made no mistake. I am sure that there was an intent to kill.

"Ryan Watson was vulnerable. He was a pedestrian, he was holding his mobile phone, he was standing on the pavement, he had been drinking.

"There was nothing he could do to avoid the fatal act. To my mind you have shown no true remorse for Ryan's murder."

'He'll never get to live his life'

Mr Watson's family said that it had been "so hard" to repeatedly watch footage of his murder during the three-week trial.

In a statement read to the court, his mother Lisa Watson said: "The one person Ryan trusted the most is the person who took his life in such a violent way.

"Alice is in prison where she belongs but no sentence is going to be long enough for what she has taken from us and Ryan. He'll never get to live his life and fulfil his dreams."