#parent | #kids | This dad ‘had problems, but wasn’t a bad person’… he was killed by a dangerous driver after drug deal went wrong

A dad was killed by a dangerous driver after a drug deal went wrong.

Joss McCaughtrie, 26, was buying drugs from from dealer Shaun Ward in Bolton.

Ward, 23, who has never passed a driving test, was behind the wheel of a VW Golf.

One of the car’s windows was smashed in circumstances which remain unclear, before Ward sped off, with Mr McCaughtrie clinging onto the vehicle for ‘dear life’.

Ward tried to ‘shake off’ Mr McCaughtrie, eventually propelling him into a fence.

He suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead soon after.

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Ward then ‘concocted’ a story of lies. He tried to blame Mr McCaughtrie for the incident, claiming he had threatened him with a hammer.

Shannon Kay, Ward’s then girlfriend, went along with the story.

At Manchester Crown Court on Thursday, Ward was jailed for seven years and two months. His mugshot has not yet been released by police.

Kay, 24, avoided jail, after admitting assisting an offender.

Mr McCaughtrie’s devastated family told of the impact of their loss – and how his seven-year-old son has lost his father.

Tributes were left at the scene for Joss McCaughtrie
Tributes were left at the scene for Joss McCaughtrie

His mother Debbie said: “Joss had problems with his life, but he was not a bad person.

“He didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

Prosecutors said Mr McCaughtrie had called a drug dealing line in order to buy heroin and cocaine.

He met with Ward, who was acting as a ‘runner’ for more established dealers.

Ward arrived in a car with Kay, which contained concealed weapons including a metal bar, a knife and a machete.

They met on St James Street in Farnworth, at 8.11am on March 2.

Shortly after, Mr McCaughtrie approached the car with £10 for the drugs. The driver’s side window was smashed in circumstances which ‘remain a mystery’, prosecutor Rob Hall said.

Ward later claimed Mr McCaughtrie was carrying a hammer, but prosecutors said there was no evidence of this.

Shannon Kay avoided jail, after admitting assisting an offender

Suddenly Ward sped off in the car, with Mr McCaughtrie holding onto it with both hands.

He swerved the car in a bid to dislodge him from the vehicle and used the metal bar to hit his hands.

Shortly after, Ward mounted the curb and Mr McCaughtrie was propelled into a fence, causing horrific injuries, including a fractured skull.

He was pronounced dead just after 9am.

Ward and Kay fled.

A passer-by chased them and caught up with Kay.

Ward made it to a friend’s house, where he changed his clothes.

The pair later learned Mr McCaughtrie had died.

The court heard Ward ‘concocted’ a story which Kay went along with, before they decided to hand themselves in at Bolton police station, which they did that afternoon.

Ward told police Mr McCaughtrie had produced a hammer and threatened to kill him – a claim described by the prosecution as a ‘fabrication’.

Kay claimed Ward had stopped his car on St James Street so she could go to the shop to buy a drink, while also falsely alleging that Mr McCaughtrie had threatened them with a hammer.

The pair later admitted their crimes.

Ward admitted causing death by dangerous driving; two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs; one count of possession of an offensive weapon; and two counts of possessing a blade.

Kay pleaded guilty to one count of assisting an offender.

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The court heard Mr McCaughtrie’s family has been devastated by their loss, describing him as a ‘friendly, caring person with a heart of gold’.

His father Damon said: “To have him taken from us in the manner which he was, is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

“No parent should ever have to bury their child.”

He said Mr McCaughtrie’s seven-year-old son clearly misses his father.

David Toal, for Ward, said the defendant, who has been remanded in custody since the incident, had suffered his own tragedy recently as he was unable to attend the funeral of his mother due to coronavirus protocols in prison.

Manchester Crown Court

Ward sat in the dock with his head in his hands during the hearing.

Nick Ross, for Kay, said she had also suffered a tragedy as her 14-year-old brother recently died in a drowning incident.

He said Kay was not involved in Ward’s drug dealing and that her offending was ‘borne out of poor judgement’ and panic.

Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: “Cases of this sort are always tragic.

“The death of Joss McCaughtrie is no less tragic because he had issues with drugs.

“Violence in a sense is a hazard to which those who buy and sell drugs expose themselves to.

“But what is vital is that it should not be thought by anyone that the life of Joss McCaughtrie is any less valuable because of the sad involvement he had with drugs, than it would be had he not had that involvement.”

Ward, of no fixed address, was jailed for seven years and two months.

Kay, of Chestnut Avenue, Crewe, received an 18 month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

She must complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

The judge paid tribute to the ‘dignity’ displayed by Mr McCaughtrie’s family, who followed proceedings in court.




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