‘Callous’ thief who left Upminster delivery driver for dead is jailed

14:08 29 January 2014

David Fletcher was critically ill in hospital

David Fletcher was critically ill in hospital


A thief who ran over a delivery driver with his own van, before wiping his fingerprints from the vehicle and leaving his victim for dead, has been jailed.

David Fletcher, from Upminster, was working in Purfleet, Essex, on July 9, when Leonard Willsher, 41, and another man, jumped into his lorry and drove off.

Mr Fletcher, 58, gave chase, clinging to the lorry’s wing-mirror, but was pushed in the face by Willsher, who was driving, and fell to the ground.

He was run over by his truck, leaving him with serious, multiple injuries.

Willsher, from The Fremnells, Basildon, was sentenced to three years and eight months at Basildon Crown Court yesterday after admitting his part in the crime.

After sentencing, Mr Fletcher’s family issued the following statement: “We would like to thank the team at Essex Police for their hard work and dedication.

“We would also like thank to all those who helped David, from the witnesses who helped care for him when he was lying injured in the road, the Essex Air Ambulance and the staff at Royal London Hospital.

“We know that without the first class care he received, David would not be with us today.

“We have drawn comfort from the fact that for every person like the defendant and his accomplice, there are countless others that have shown so much kindness and care.”

Willsher’s accessory has never been found.

Det Chief Insp Lucy Morris said: “Despite causing near-fatal injuries, Willsher did nothing to help his victim, but was observed wiping his fingerprints from the lorry before running off, leaving his victim for dead.

“However we have not closed this enquiry yet. Willsher has, so far, refused to identify the man who was with him.”

Anyone who wants to speak to DCI Morris can call Essex Police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Willsher admitted causing grievous bodily harm, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking and driving whilst disqualified.

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 17:13
Aimee Sell pictured second on the left

A leading karate champion is opening a new club and launching her own academy.

Yesterday, 14:07
Broadford and Mead Primary School pupils being recognised for their achievements by TfL.

Environment-friendly pupils who took part in a TfL scheme about finding economical modes of transport to school, have been recognised for their achievement.

Yesterday, 11:55
Angela Llewellyn

After spending almost 25 years helping children to cross roads in all weathers, a lollipop lady is finally hanging up her high vis coat.

Yesterday, 11:29
Market Place, Romford.  Apple Day event. Event co-ordinator Ellie Gill demonstrates the art of Apple bobbing.

Shoppers were treated to some juicy activities to celebrate apple day.

Yesterday, 11:10
Sean Drew, 28,  was last seen at approximately  8pm on Sunday ,October 23, in the Rush Green area. Have you seen him? Picture: Met Police.

Police are appealing for help to trace a missing man who frequents Romford.

Yesterday, 11:02
James Hearne is wanted by police. Picture: Met Police.

The police are appealing for help to find a “prolific offender” who frequents Collier Row.

Yesterday, 09:50
Two cars were set alight early this morning in Ellis Avenue, Rainham.

Residents gathered outside in the early hours of the morning as two cars were set alight.

Yesterday, 07:00
Barkingside Magistrates Court

A man left an Indian restaurant without paying before assaulting a police officer while being treated for drunkenness, a court has heard.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now