Blackburn cyclist's hit-and-run 'killer' flees to Algeria

Hit-and-run death crash driver flees to Algeria

Steve Weaver

First published in News
Last updated
Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

POLICE want to extradite a man believed to be responsible for knocking down and killing a former Blackburn council boss in a hit-and-run crash in France.

Steve Weaver, who lived in Revidge, was cycling near his holiday home in Provence when he was mowed down by a man driving a stolen Ford car, who then fled the country, investigators said.

A spokeswoman for the police in France said the fugitive had flown to Algeria.

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They are now applying for permission to fly out there and extradite him back to France to face questioning.

Friends and family of 64-year-old Mr Weaver said they hoped the new information would mean justice would soon be done.

His ex-wife Ann, who still lives in Blackburn, said: “The family are pleased that the police investigations are making progress.”

Police are now just waiting for permission to fly to Africa and arrest the fugitive.

A spokeswoman said: “We know who the suspect is and we think we know where he is, but we cannot catch him because he is not in France.

“We have to be allowed to go there to have an extradition.

“We know he first went to Algeria, but we do not know if he stayed there.

“We just have to follow the law and we will see if we are allowed to go to catch him.

“Police are continuing to investigate the case.”

Keen cyclist Mr Weaver, 64, who was chief executive of Blackpool Council from 2002 to 2011 after 27 years working in Blackburn town hall, suffered injuries to his head and torso when he was knocked off his bike by the car.

He had been travelling from the hamlet of Veaux towards the town Malaucène, in May.

An investigation was immediately launched by officers in the area, who issued an e-fit of a man they thought could have been driving.

The prime suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was identified after police carried out tests on DNA found inside the stolen car, which was recovered soon after the crash.

The French national lived in a village near where the crash happened, but is known to have taken a 90-minute flight from Marseille to the Algerian capital Algiers to escape arrest.

Blackburn MP Jack Straw said he was ready to help should contact need to be made with the British embassy in Algeria.

He said: “I am very glad to know that the French police are treating this case with all the seriousness it deserves.

“I stand ready to help, including making representations through our embassy in Algiers, should it be needed.

“It must be a terrible time for Mr Weaver’s family, but I do know they are grateful that the British embassy pulled out all the stops to help them.

“It seems like progression with the criminal case is being made and hopefully justice will be done.”

Friend and Roe Lee councillor Phil Riley added: “I am pleased the possible culprit has been identified.

“We now want him apprehended and taken through the courts. I am hoping that all the necessary legal processes can be completed swiftly.”

Mr Weaver, who is originally from Yorkshire, left three children and three grandchildren.

In the run up to the 1998 creation of the unitary authority, he became deputy chief executive with responsibility for education, social services, leisure and welfare rights.

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