Nov 1 2012 By court reporter
A CAR thief knocked down and killed grandfather Roberto Da Silva as he lost control of a stolen motor in a high-speed police chase, the Old Bailey has heard.
Felix Fletcher, 39, drove into Mr Da Silva, 70 (pictured) as he was unloading his shopping outside his home in Moray Avenue, Hayes, it is alleged.
The black Volkswagen Golf mounted the pavement and crushed Mr Da Silva between its bonnet and his own car, the Old Bailey was told.
Fletcher had stolen the car from a house around two miles away 15 minutes earlier and accelerated to speeds of up to 70mph as he tried to evade police. He swerved onto the wrong side of the road as he overtook slow-moving vehicles, clipping some as he passed, jurors were told on the opening day of the trial today (Thursday).
After the crash, Fletcher and an accomplice crawled through out of the driver's side window and vaulted garden fences to make their escape.
Mr Da Silva had been chatting with his neighbours about the weather as he unloaded carrier bags from his Vauxhall Frontera moments before he died.
One described hearing 'tyres screeching and a loud bang' as he returned to his own home just after 7pm last February 7.
Prosecutor Deanna Heer said: 'He turned to see the black VW Golf on the pavement, wedged between the Frontera that was parked half-on and half-off the pavement and the garden wall.
'Mr Da Silva was trapped between the two vehicles, slumped over the bonnet of the VW Golf, apparently dead.'
He died in hospital later the same day from massive spinal injuries, she added.
Fletcher is alleged to have stolen the VW Golf after swiping its keys, along with cash, jewellery and electronics, as he raided a house in nearby Clement Gardens minutes earlier.
The homeowner was walking home when he saw his car being driven down the road, and he alerted police to the theft.
Officers saw the vehicle almost immediately and turned on their blue lights and sirens to signal it to stop.
'But as it travelled along Dawley Road, not only did it accelerate but it began to overtake slower vehicles,' said Ms Heer.
Police were forced to abandon the chase after their patrol car collided with a blue Vauxhall Zafira minicab in Botwell Lane, but Fletcher continued to speed away, clipping at least one other car as he went.
Fletcher, of Collingwood Road, Hayes, denies alternative charges of causing death by dangerous driving and allowing himself to be carried in a vehicle involved in a fatal accident.
He further denies theft of the VW Golf and burglary.
He will claim he was not the driver of the car, the court heard.
The trial continues.