The youth accused of murdering 19-year-old Sheldon Lewcock - who died after being hit by a van - faced a grilling as he testified at trial.

Ryan Willicombe, 19, from Newbury, took the stand at Reading Crown Court today (April 23).

He admits crashing into Mr Lewcock while driving his father's van on August 4, 2024, but maintains he did not intend to hit him.

At the time, Mr Lewcock was riding a motorised bike in Pierces Hill, Tilehurst, with a group of other teenagers - including his half-brother, Kaden Williams.

Willicombe claims that he had a dispute with Mr Williams in the run-up to the collision.

He alleges that, on August 4, he drove his van at the motorcyclists in an effort to 'scare' them, without wishing to harm anybody.

Instead, he ended up clipping Mr Williams with his wing mirror, and hitting Mr Lewcock head-on.

Summing up his actions on the day, Willicombe stated: "I panicked."

Mr Lewcock died at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford five days later.

Asked by defence barrister Paul Bogan KC whether he had reflected on the victim's death, Willicombe said: "I think about it quite a lot. I think about his family, and what they're going through."

The prosecution in the case have produced a number of violent texts sent by Willicombe in the aftermath of the crash.

Among these is a message stating: "Hopefully, Sheldon dies."

Another text reads: "Hopefully he paralysed."

Philip Evans KC, prosecuting, quizzed Willicombe on the meaning of these messages.

The defendant emphasised that they needed to be viewed in the context of his anger at the time, given the long-running dispute with Mr Williams.

He stressed that he had no issues with Mr Lewcock himself.

He said: "I was angry at the whole situation. I was angry."

After hitting Mr Lewcock, Willicombe did not stop the van.

Instead, he drove away, abandoned the vehicle at a nearby Co-op, and caught a train to Wales, where he was subsequently apprehended.

Mr Evans KC called into question the account given by Willicombe, who claims he was trying to flee the wrath of Mr Williams.

The prosecutor highlighted that, weeks after the collision, Willicombe told police he was not driving the van which hit Mr Lewcock - a story he later retracted.

Mr Evans KC suggested that this history of lying makes the defendant's testimony unreliable.

Instead, he posits that Willicombe intentionally crashed into the motorcyclists in a bid to settle scores - although the prosecutor conceded that the nature of the dispute between the youths was not "clear."

Mr Evans KC told the defendant: "You had a problem with Kaden Williams - that is undoubtedly the case - but you also had a problem with the rest of his group, didn't you?

"When you saw that the group coming along the road, you seized an opportunity, didn't you?"

Willicombe denies murder.