Pair locked up for manslaughter of Bettws man, Barry Thomas
1:52pm Friday 6th December 2013 in News
TWO scrap metal dealers found guilty of the manslaughter of Newport man Barry Thomas were locked up for a total of 16 years yesterday.
Shaun Walker, 19, of Newman Close, Newport, was given a 12-year extended sentence of which eight years will be served in a young offenders institution and four years will be on licence.
His co-defendant Calvin Wall, 46, of Walsall Street, Newport, was jailed for eight years.
A summer afternoon with friends turned to tragedy on Methuen Road, Maindee, Newport, on June 2 this year when Mr Thomas, 45, was attacked in a row over the sale of a moped he said was promised to him.
When Mr Thomas, from Bettws, sat on the bike and tapped Wall “jokingly” with a pen, the two attacked him.
Mr Justice John Griffith Williams said: “Barry Thomas presented no threat. He was only 175cm tall and weighed some 67kg and so was no match at all for Walker.”
He said Walker had shown “no remorse whatsoever. “ The court heard Wall had encouraged Walker to strike the blows and “go for” Mr Thomas, which the younger defendant was “enthusiastic” in carrying out.
Mr Thomas died of catastrophic haemorrhage to the brain two days after the assault.
David Aubrey QC, defending Walker, said in mitigation: “The offence was unplanned, unpremeditated and it lasted for probably under one minute.
“Something happened on that day which turned a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, when people were literally lounging around tinkering with motorbikes and enjoying themselves, into a thoroughly unpleasant one.
He added: “This man is a young man who has a great problem controlling his temper. This stems in part from his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is diagnosed and for which he was receiving medication.”
The court heard Walker had previous convictions including GBH and assault of a female police officer.
Roger Thomas QC, representing Wall, said his client showed genuine remorse and empathy for his victim’s family.
Walker refused to stand to hear his sentence and so was asked him to leave the courtroom.
Mr Justice Williams told Wall: “You are an arrogant bully. There is no reason to distinguish between your responsibility.”
There were gasps from the packed public gallery in Newport Crown Court as the sentences were read out.
Wall had previously been found guilty of manslaughter on November 4 and Walker was found guilty of the same offence the following day.
The Gwent Police senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Paul Griffiths warned that the case showed how a minor altercation can escalating onto an "horrific level of street violence" that resulted in someone's death.
He said: "In a matter of minutes Mr Thomas was injured and never recovered, leaving the lives of his family and friends altered forever."
He also paid tribute to the Community Support Officer who attended the scene and tried to save Mr Thomas' life and to the officers and staff who worked "diligently and relentlessly" through the night to find the two offenders who had fled Wales.
He also thanked a number of witnesses involved in the case, saying many were "vulnerable for a number of reasons and I would like to thank them for their bravery, co-operation and support.
"I hope this gives people confidence that the criminal justice system is for everyone, no matter what their difficulties and reassurance that with appropriate support anyone can give evidence and play a full part in a criminal trial."