Man drove 65 miles to deliberately run down cyclist as he rode to work

Mark Whittaker waited for his victim to cycle past before hitting him at more than 30mph

A man has been jailed after he drove 65 miles to deliberately run down a cyclist as he rode to work.

Mark Whittaker, of no fixed abode, travelled from Portsmouth to Reading to attack his victim Darren Fordred.

Whittaker waited for Mr Fordred to cycle past on his way to work, then deliberately mounted the pavement and hit the cyclist at more than 30mph.

The impact lifted the rider onto the windscreen and he was launched through metal railings when Whittaker’s vehicle hit them.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Peter Cave, from Thames Valley Police, said: “Whittaker’s actions that evening will have a life-long impact on Mr Fordred.

“This was a horrific and totally unnecessary attack in which Whittaker callously and deliberately used his vehicle as a weapon.”

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Whittaker attacked Mr Fordred because he wrongly believed he was responsible for the loss of access to his family, the judge in the case said.

The 46-year-old has been jailed for 21 years after he was found guilty of attempted murder during a trial at Reading Crown Court on Monday (March 29).

Mark Whittaker has been jailed for attempted murder (Picture: Thames Valley Police)

Whittaker carried out the attack in Northumberland Avenue, Reading at around 5.20am on October 12 last year.

When Mr Fordred, 38, cycled past on the pavement on his way to work, his attacker mounted the curb and hit him with his car.

Whittaker then exited the vehicle and proceeded to kick, stamp on, punch and strangle Mr Fordred, who suffered serious injuries including deep wounds to his legs and compound fractures in both femurs in the attack.

The guilty man had previously sent threatening and abusive text messages to the victim, which suggested he wanted to kill him.

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Mr Fordred required surgery on both broken legs and skin grafts, which have left him with permanent scarring.

DC Cave added: “He knew the dangerous nature of his decision, and after the jury rejected his not guilty plea and convicted him of attempted murder, Whittaker repeatedly failed to show any remorse for his actions.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.