Court: Driver crushed five-year-old to death on his driveway

A man crushed his next door neighbour's five-year-old son to death as his car pulled onto the shared driveway of their homes.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard on Wednesday that 42-year-old David Cowell was returning home to watch an England football match on TV after going on an errand to the shops when the tragedy happened, crushing the child without seeing him.

Cowell is accused of causing the death of Riley Ferguson by careless driving - a charge he denies.

Riley died from horrific injuries to his head and neck after his next door neighbour’s Vauxhall Insignia car rolled over him, the jury was told.

Neighbour Cowell had invited a friend around to watch an England football match on June 7, 2015, when he left his home for a brief moment on an errand.

The defendant returned home to see another neighbour’s daughter standing near his shared driveway but was unable to spot Riley who was already underneath his car and bleeding heavily from his mouth and nose.

Cowell reversed after hitting what he thought was a bike or a scooter on the driveway, only to find Riley who he had not seen while pulling up outside his home in Milton Keynes.

Riley died from his injuries after being taken to a hospital and a hospice.

The court heard how the summer sun had prompted a number of barbecues in Woodspring Court where the tragedy happened last year.

Alan Blake, prosecuting, said: “The front gardens were very small and the two children would often play together on and around the driveway. That was something that frustrated the defendant who had spoken to his neighbours about it.

“Relations remained cordial and it was just something that had been mentioned.”

He added: “On June 7, 2015, some of the residents, including this defendant, were planning on having barbecues and David Cowell was planning to watch an England match with his friend.

“The defendant popped out on an errand in his black Vauxhall Insignia car. At around 1.45pm he drove down Tewkesbury Lane before turning left into Woodspring Court.

“While the defendant was out on his errand there were some of the children playing on the shared driveway. 10-year-old started playing outside with Riley. Riley had a ball with him while they chatted and played.

“Young Riley was sitting playing on the driveway about a metre or so from the 10-year-old.”

Mr Blake told jurors that Cowell returned to his home at around 1.45pm and was aware of the 10-year-old who was stood near a fence at the end of the driveway.

He added: “According to what he told police, David Cowell was aware of the 10-year-old but failed to see Riley.

“As he entered the driveway he was aware he ran over something that he thought was a child’s toy or bike. He rolled back a distance and there he saw Riley bleeding heavily from the head.

“He picked him up and carried him to the grass.

“The 10-year-old’s mother, Tamara, made the 999 call and Riley’s mother was said to be beside herself with grief and shock.

“Riley suffered severe head and neck injuries and was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford before he was taken to a hospice where he died four days alter from his injuries.

“He had been run over by the nearside front wheel. David Cowell had been aware of children congregating in that area with bikes and toys on the shared driveway.

“He should have been proceeding with maximum care and attention and unfortunately he didn’t.”

Cowell, now of Deacon Crescent, Middleton, Milton Keynes, denies the charge of causing death by careless driving.

The trial continues.