Jury hears how Bedford man was crushed to death by car of drug dealer he’d robbed

Luton Crown Court
Luton Crown Court Image: South Beds News Agency

A drug dealer murdered a man who had run off with his cocaine and cash by crushing him to death under his car, a jury heard today/Tuesday.

Karan Soni, 27, used his Vauxhall Insignia as a weapon to strike Tola Piper, 34, who had just robbed him at knifepoint, it was alleged.

The jury at Luton crown court were played CCTV footage showing the Insignia strike Mr Piper in Dewsbury Road, Luton. It rode up against a Micra car and then came down on top of him.

Mr Piper from Bedford suffered fatal injuries. Around £1,000 in cash and wraps of cocaine were found strewn into the road.

The driver Karan Soni, now 27, from Birchwood Avenue, Hatfield denies alternative charges of murder, manslaughter and causing death by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Martin Mulgrew said: “On 29 November last year at 1pm Tola Piper was struck by a Vauxhall Insignia in Dewsbury Road in Luton.

“As a result, he suffered fatal crash injuries to his chest and died.”

He played the jury of five men and seven women CCTV footage which showed Tola Piper running up Birdsfoot Lane in front of a row of shops before turning right into Dewsbury Road.

The dark-coloured Insignia was driven along the wrong side of the road before turning into Dewsbury Road.

One witness was aware of a man running along a pavement, she heard a car horn and a driver take evasive action. She heard a screeching noise as the Insignia turned into Dewsbury Road and then a crash.

Mr Mulgrew said Mr Piper was on the ground as both sets of wheels from the Insignia were driven over his body.

The police and paramedics were called, but they were unable to save Mr Piper. A pathologist found he had suffered unsurvivable injuries, with numerous fractured ribs

A knife was lying on the kerbside and wraps of cocaine and about £1,000 cash were scattered on the ground.

The defendant was arrested the next day. In a written statement he said he had been threatened with a knife held to his throat.

He later admitted he had been dealing drugs and the cocaine and money found in the road belonged to him.

Mr Mulgrew told the jury: “He has pleaded guilty to drug dealing in October, a month earlier.

“Mr Soni was dealing in Class A drugs. This gave him the motive to get his drugs and cash back from Mr Piper.

“He angrily pursued Mr Piper.  He deliberately drove him down in order to get his drugs and cash back. He used his car as a weapon.”

The case is proceeding.

Reporting by South Beds News Agency