Stephen Dunford, formerly of Fellbrigg Road, drove a grey Fiat Punto at speed through a red traffic light on St Mary’s Gate in the city centre, whilst under the influence of drugs in the early hours of October 13, before colliding with Naomi Colcomb on the crossing.
The 28-year-old suffered catastrophic injuries and sadly died at the scene. Despite the impact, Dunford did not stop the vehicle and fled the scene, continuing to drive in a dangerous manner. The Punto was later located on fire in Heeley Green, Sheffield, at 4.05am the same day.
Following an extensive and complex investigation of the fatal collision, including a public appeal for information by Naomi’s mum, Dunford, aged 27, was identified as the driver of the car.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Rob Platts, who oversaw the investigation into Naomi’s death, told how after abandoning the vehicle, Dunford was picked up in a taxi and taken to the Lowedges area.
Several hours later, he was taken to a hotel in Sheffield by another taxi, taking a detour past the scene of the collision.
“Dunford was clearly trying to find out the extent of his actions, after fleeing the scene and showing absolutely no regard for his victim,” said T/DCI Platts.
Naomi ‘young, caring, hugely popular’
Later that day, Dunford was found to have travelled to Skegness on the east coast where he remained for a number of days, most likely to keep his head down after the collision.
T/DCI Platts added: “Whilst Dunford has showed little remorse for his actions throughout, I am pleased that he finally saw some sort of sense and admitted his guilt. If nothing more this has saved the family and friends of Naomi from having to endure a trial which would have caused further upset and distress.
“Naomi was a young, caring and hugely popular lady. Through no fault of her own she has had her life taken away by the dangerous and despicable actions of Dunford. I just hope that Naomi’s family and friends can seek a small amount of comfort from this sentencing, and somehow find the strength to move on. I know for certain that Naomi will never be forgotten.”
Naomi’s family: Nothing will ever make up for the loss
Naomi’s mum, Sabine Heiliger, said: “I feel some relief that Stephen Dunford has at last been held to account for Naomi’s death, even though nothing will ever make up for the loss of her life or ease the pain.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved these last three and a quarter years – those who tried to help Naomi that night, family and friends, the police and the criminal justice teams, and everyone who has been helping to keep Naomi’s memory alive – there are too many to mention, you know who you are. Thank you. Your support has been a comfort.”
Dunford was handed three life sentences at Sheffield Crown Court in October 2020 for shooting a 12-year-old boy in Arbourthorne, Sheffield, on January 12, 2020, and was due to serve a minimum of 19 years behind bars.
He admitted causing death by dangerous driving, and was handed his sentence today at Sheffield Crown Court.
He will now serve six years behind bars for causing Naomi's death. These sentences will run concurrently.