Cyclist jailed for killing Gosport navy veteran pensioner with single push

Duncan Snellgrove, 28, who was jailed for the manslaughter of Roy Galvin, 69. Picture: Hampshire police
Duncan Snellgrove, 28, who was jailed for the manslaughter of Roy Galvin, 69. Picture: Hampshire police

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A CYCLIST who killed a Falklands veteran after pushing him off a pavement in 'sheer anger' has been jailed.

Duncan Snellgrove, 28, was jailed for manslaughter after a dispute with Roy Galvin, 69, and his wheel-chair using wife Deborah.

Navy veteran Roy Galvin, 69, who died in hospital on September 28 after hitting his head on September 25. Picture: Hampshire police

Navy veteran Roy Galvin, 69, who died in hospital on September 28 after hitting his head on September 25. Picture: Hampshire police

The defendant, of Mandarin Way, Gosport, had been cycling in the bike lane while another man rode on the pavement with a young boy on the handlebars.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Mr Galvin and his wife were together on the pavement but came to a stop as they could not pass the cyclist on the pavement.

Matthew Lawson, prosecuting, said Snellgrove pushed Mr Galvin after the Royal Navy veteran said the boy was too young to be on the handlebars.

Mr Lawson said: 'It appears there was insufficient room for (the other man's) bicycle to pass the Galvins on the footpath, so all parties came to a halt facing each other.

Police carried out patrols on September 30 last year, a week after the incident in Gosport that led to 69-year-old veteran Roy Galvin's death. Picture: UKNIP

Police carried out patrols on September 30 last year, a week after the incident in Gosport that led to 69-year-old veteran Roy Galvin's death. Picture: UKNIP

'Mrs Galvin said that the cyclist should be using the cycle lane and Mr Galvin made a comment to the effect that the child was too young to be sitting on the handlebars as he was.

'It seems that the defendant, who had initially passed the Galvins on the cycle path, took exception to Mr Galvin's comment.

'He's described as throwing his bicycle down and going up to Mr Galvin.

''Mrs Galvin describes the defendant's attitude of being one of sheer anger, pure aggression and, in her words, full of rage.'

The court heard Snellgrove walked towards Mr Galvin with his fists clenched, before confronting him and pointing his finger in Mr Galvin's face.

Mr Lawson said another witness thought Snellgrove, who has previously been jailed twice for various assaults and a threat to kill, was 'fronting up the older male'.

The court heard Mr Galvin, who had been with his wife at the White Hart pub in the afternoon, had his hands open trying to calm things down.

Mr Lawson added: 'Then without warning the defendant raised both arms and pushed Mr Galvin in the chest.'

It was then Mr Galvin fell backwards, hitting his head as his distressed wife of 12 years watched on in horror.

Snellgrove walked off home before handing himself in to police at Portsmouth Central police station the next day.

The pensioner spent three days unconscious at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham before he died on at 8.15am on September 28.

Jailing him for 40 months, judge Sarah Munro QC said: 'Your actions have deprived a happy couple of many happy years together and his widow now feels empty.'

In a victim personal statement read by Mr Lawson, the pensioner's widow said: 'The terror of the incident is still with me and plays on my mind every minute of every day and I can't seem to get it out my head.

'All I can see is the incident that led to Roy's death and the vision of the male responsible running away.

'I've not slept properly since September. It still haunts me.'

Snellgrove,who the court heard had nightmares of the incident every night, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on November 9 last year. He was initially charged with GBH prior to the pensioner's death.

Snellgrove, who has 17 previous convictions for 29 offences, held his head in his hands and wept as a letter he wrote to Mr Galvin's widow was read out in court by Daniel Reilly, mitigating.

'Dear Mrs Galvin, I don't know what to say, I'm so sorry for the actions I took that evening,' the letter said.

'I'm so sorry for you loss, I know these words won't bring back your husband. I wish they would.

'I never meant to ruin your life.

'I need to tell you I did not intent to hurt Mr Galvin in any way or yourself, I'm not asking for forgiveness but I need to tell you I'm truly sorry for the hurt I caused for you.'