A 'VIOLENT' and 'dangerous' man who deliberately drove his car into his victim as part of a premeditated attack has been jailed for 21 years for attempted murder.

Mark Whittaker, 45, of no fixed abode, drove his car from Portsmouth to Reading and waited outside the address of his victim, Darren Fordred, on October 12.

He waited for Mr Fordred to leave his house on his bicycle before driving 'at speed' into the 38-year-old.

Whittaker then proceeded to punch and kick Mr Fordred, at one point putting his hands around his throat and shouting that he was going to kill him.

Residents nearby who saw what was happening tried to intervene and stop Whittaker.

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Reading Chronicle:

Mr Fordred was left with life-threatening injuries at the time of the attack, including several breaks to his legs.

The impact lifted him from his bike and caused him to hit his head on Whittaker's windscreen before the vehicle launched him through metal railings, causing fractures to both his femurs.

In a statement read to the court on behalf of Mr Fordred, he said: "I have no idea why Mark did what he did, but I do know how this has affected me.

"I am stressed out and in pain all the time.

"It makes me feel old before my time."


During his sentencing at Reading Crown Court on Monday, April, 29, the court heard that Whittaker wrongly believed Mr Fordred to be responsible for his loss of access to his children, and had planned to confront and 'fight' him.

Michael Roques, prosecuting, told the court that Whittaker's violent actions had been premeditated, with intention to kill.

He said that Whittaker had been under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the attack, and described it as a "sustained assault."

He added: "He [Mr Fordred] was a vulnerable road user at the time and Whittaker was in a car and the victim on his bike with no helmet."

Before sentencing Whittaker to 21 years in prison, judge Heather Norton said that Whittaker's intention has been to kill, and told the court that he had sent threatening messages to Mr Fordred, saying he was going to kill him.

She added: "You waited until you saw him leave his house on his bike to go to work.

"You planned to ambush him.

"The moment he left the house and you followed him you had the intention to kill him.

"You claimed you had the intention to fight him, however, you deliberately and at speed drove across the road, at and into Darren Fordred.

"The force and the effect of the impact can be seen in the impact to your car, to property and to Mr Fodred himself.

"Your windscreen was smashed when he was thrown off his bike and hit his head on your windscreen.

"Mr Fordred himself was very badly injured, indeed both legs were broken - one in two places.

"The injuries were described as 'high energy crash injuries' and both limb and life threatened.

"You left your car immediately and started your attack upon him.

"You punched and kicked him and at one point put your hands around his throat and shouted 'I'm going to kill you'.

"When the police arrived, you told them you wanted to kill him."

Judge Norton also said that due to the danger Whittaker poses, his 21 year sentence would be accompanied by an extended licence period of 24 years.

Investigating officer detective constable Peter Cave, of Force CID based at Reading police station, said: "Whittaker’s actions that evening will have a life-long impact on Mr Fordred.

"This was a horrific and totally unnecessary attack in which Whittaker callously and deliberately used his vehicle as a weapon.

"This was a pre-meditated attack, given that Whittaker had driven from Portsmouth to confront his victim.

"He had ample opportunity to reconsider his actions, but went ahead with this vicious attack.

"He knew the dangerous nature of his decision, and after the jury rejected his not guilty plea and convicted him of attempted murder, Whittaker repeatedly failed to show any remorse for his actions.

"I hope the sentence handed down by the court can bring some kind of closure to Mr Fordred and his family.

"I would like to praise him for his courage throughout this ordeal, and Whittaker will now have a lengthy spell in prison to reflect on the reckless actions he and he alone, decided to take that morning."