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JAIL for five men guilty of killing cyclist

PUBLISHED: 17:46 23 June 2010 | UPDATED: 10:59 12 August 2010

FIVE men are facing life sentences after being found guilty of killing a 51-year-old cyclist who was caught up in their road rage. Graham Thwaites was knocked down in Leesons Hill, Orpington, last September. Andrew Carlisle, 35, of Horning Close, Mott

FIVE men are facing life sentences after being found guilty of killing a 51-year-old cyclist who was caught up in their road rage.

Graham Thwaites was knocked down in Leesons Hill, Orpington, last September.

Andrew Carlisle, 35, of Horning Close, Mottingham, William Dennard, 24, of Ridgeway, Dartford and Shane Webb, 24, of Osbourne Road, Dartford will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on July 15 along with George Webb, 27, of Montbretia Close, St Mary Cray and David Cook, 24, of Lamberhurst Close, Orpington.

The court heard during a five-week trial how Carlisle became an enemy of the other men after a disagreement over the sale of a Rottweiller puppy.

They came to blows during a "senseless" and "reckless" high speed car chase which killed Mr Thwaites and only narrowly missed a grandmother and her grandchildren.

At around 8.30pm Carlisle waited as the first in a queue of eight cars in his Mitsubishi Shogun at traffic lights in Station Road.

Having spotted him, Dennard drove his Vectra with the three other men as passengers along the opposite carriageway to stop directly in front of Carlisle's car.

The Shogun, in a bid to escape, mounted the pavement, crashing into the Vectra's passenger door. Both cars then began to race up Leesons Hill hitting speeds between 50 and 60mph on the 30mph road, with the Vectra repeatedly ramming the Shogun.

The men only narrowly avoided hitting a car with a grandmother carrying her two grandchildren as they straddled the centre of the road.

As Mr Thwaites attempted to turn right into Highfield Road he was fatally struck down by the Shogun which was out of control and still being rammed by Dennard. The impact was so hard that he went over the car bonnet and hit a high wall in Highfield Road.

Neither of the vehicles stopped and Mr Thwaites died in hospital later that evening.

Just two minutes after he was struck, the Vectra was stopped by a patrol car and Dennard and the other men were arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.

Carlisle meanwhile had dumped his car in Cricket Ground Road, Chislehurst. He handed himself into police the next day.

Mrs Thwaites said: "This senseless act of driving cost Graham his life, he is missed by all of his family and friends."

Speaking after the manslaughter verdict last Wednesday (16), Detective Inspector Mark Cam from the Road Death Investigation Unit, said: "Mr Thwaites lost his life because Carlisle, Dennard, Cook and the Webbs were intent on airing their personal grievances out on a public road.

"They all drove dangerously, recklessly, above the speed limit and without any consideration for members of the public

"This wasn't simply a case of bad driving, it was manslaughter and I am pleased with today's verdict. I hope it goes some small way to providing comfort to Mr Thwaites' family who have acted with great dignity throughout this investigation.

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