A burglar has been handed a life sentence and told he must serve a minimum of 27 years for twice running over an ex-Royal Navy officer as his wife watched in horror.
Ryan Gibbons, 29, reversed over Mike Samwell then drove over him a second time as the former serviceman tried to stop his £36,000 Audi S3 sports car being stolen.
Mike Samwell (GMP/PA)
Gibbons gave no reaction but there were gasps from his family in the public gallery and one said “You’re joking”, before his father shouted “Love you, son” as he was taken down to the cells at Manchester Crown Court.
Moments earlier Mr Samwell’s wife Jessica had read a poignant victim impact statement to the court speaking of her “overwhelming grief” as she watched her husband die.
The couple had been woken in the night as burglars broke into their £450,000 house on Cranbourne Road, Chorlton, south Manchester, snatching the keys to the car from the kitchen table.
Mr Samwell, a nuclear engineer after serving 12 years in the forces, rushed outside in his boxer shorts, shouting “Get out of the car!”, followed by his wife who saw him go under the wheels as Gibbons sped off.
She held his hand and told him she loved him as he lay dying from “catastrophic” chest and heart injuries.
Passing sentence Mr Justice William Davis told Gibbons: “He was killed in front of her eyes and died as she was holding his hand on the driveway of his own home.
“You are a dangerous young man, you are a regular burglar and on this occasion, to get what you wanted, you quite ruthlessly killed a man.”
Mrs Samwell, with dark rings under her eyes and a halting voice, spoke from the witness box as Gibbons and co-defendant Raymond Davies lowered their heads and did not look at her.
Gibbons, left, and Raymond Davies (GMP/PA)
She said: “There are no words that can truly express how the loss of Mike has affected me.
“I feel overwhelming grief for the future we will never have, the birthdays and anniversaries, and to think of the children we will never share is devastating.
“The loss of such a caring, loyal and warm man who supported me for 10 years is too much to bear.
“The hole he’s left becomes even more tangible.
“I now know the days get harder, the physical pain, loss and longing for Mike has not ended.
“The loss of Mike has felt catastrophic.”
Father-of-four Gibbons, of Steven Court, Chorlton, and Davies, 21, were convicted on Tuesday after a three-week trial.
Gibbons was found guilty of murder, and Davies, who drove him to the address and picked him up after the car was taken, was jailed for eight years for manslaughter.