Advertisement

Student jailed for murdering fiance by running him over with car in argument after party

A philosophy student who murdered her fiance by drunkenly mowing him down with a car in a lethal “game of chicken” has been jailed for life.

Alice Wood, 23, killed her partner Ryan Watson after an argument erupted between them following a party where Mr Watson was said to have “clicked” with another woman.

A court previously heard Manchester University student Wood “lost her temper” as she drove them home while three times over the limit from a birthday party in Hanley.

At the party, which was for a service user of the brain injury charity where Mr Watson worked, he reportedly “clicked” with a woman, who felt Wood was staring at her.

Other guests of the party said Wood was not "best pleased" with his behaviour and had “appeared cold” while 24-year-old Mr Watson “worked the room”.

Back at their home in Rode Heath, Cheshire, CCTV at around 11.30pm shows Wood reversing the Ford Fiesta towards her partner, nearly hitting him.

Wood dragged her fiance Ryan Watson 158 metres up a road before stopping (PA)
Wood dragged her fiance Ryan Watson 158 metres up a road before stopping (PA)

She is then seen driving the car backwards and forwards in what one witness described as a “game of chicken” before she hit him head-on, sending him flying onto the bonnet.

After he got back on his feet, she hit him once again, dragging him 158 metres up the road while he was trapped under the car before stopping.

Wood had insisted Mr Watson was killed in a “tragic accident” and claimed her partner “flipped” after the party, accusing her of flirting with other men.

But a jury at Chester Crown Court rejected her claim and found her guilty of murder last month. On Friday,she was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years.

Alice Wood has been jailed for Ryan Watson’s murder (PA)
Alice Wood has been jailed for Ryan Watson’s murder (PA)

Wood had been preparing for final exams in a theology, philosophy and ethics degree at the time and had a scholarship for a part-time research masters at Cambridge.

On the first day of the trial, she had a copy of the book Meditations, a philosophy text by Roman Marcus Aurelius, under her arm as she was led in handcuffs to the court.

Andrew Ford KC, prosecuting, had told the trial Mr Watson was seen on CCTV footage “having a good time, being a gregarious and outgoing party guest”.

Fellow guest Tiffany Ferriday said she and Mr Watson had “clicked” and Wood, who “appeared cold”, was “pretty much left out” of conversation.

Giving evidence, Wood described an argument between the two which continued when they returned to the house they owned in Oak Street. She told the court she went out to her car to leave but Mr Watson followed and he was then hit by her car.

CCTV footage shows the moment Wood repeatedly hits Ryan with her car (PA)
CCTV footage shows the moment Wood repeatedly hits Ryan with her car (PA)

During his opening address, Mr Ford said “she lost her temper” and used the car as a weapon.

In a statement, Mr Watson’s family said it had been “so hard” to repeatedly watch the CCTV footage shown in court of the moment he was killed while trapped under the car.

They 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.”

Sentencing her on Friday to life imprisonment, Judge Michael Leeming told the defendant: “Prison may be hard for you, Alice Wood, but you only have yourself to blame for the situation you now find yourself in.”