A MAN has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder after kicking “defenceless” Jan Jedrzejewski as he lay in a Newport street.

Richard Wallis, aged 43, of Keene Street, Newport, will serve a minimum of 16 years in jail, after he was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court today.

Wallis was found guilty of murder following a seven week trial at Newport Crown Court. He also previously pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Forty-one-year-old Mr Jedrzejewski, described by his sister as “fun loving, honest and kind”, was lying defenceless between two cars in Keene Street, Newport, when Wallis kicked him in the mouth, delivering a fatal blow, the court heard.

The court heard Mr Jedrzejewski had been ejected from Cromwell Stores, having urinated when standing or leaning against the shop counter at around 10.40pm on January 12, this year.

Mr Jedrzejewski was brought to the ground after trying to go back into the shop, which is when Wallis was seen on CCTV coming to buy cigarettes.

Wallis and Mr Jedrzejewski then confronted each other, before Wallis ran off in to Keene Street.

The court heard, Wallis then returned with a crowbar, which he did not use, and kicked the Polish national as he lay in the street.

“The likelihood is that as the much older man, you were trying to impress the three co-defendants and so you took it upon yourself to punish Jan Jedrzejewski for urinating in the shop,” said judge Williams.

After the incident, Wallis “lied low” and started to fabricate an alibi defence, said judge Williams. His clothes were washed to remove any traces of blood, and when questioned he blamed others for the attack, the court heard.

“His one mistake was his failure to notice the very small spot of blood on one of his socks and so it was not washed,” added judge Williams.

Paul Lewis QC, defending, said it was accepted in the trial there was no intention to kill Mr Jedrzejewski.

A jury found there was intention to cause grievous bodily harm.

Mr Lewis also said there was some provocation in the violent act.

He said Wallis was encouraged to fight by others and that abuse was shouted at him when he turned to run away.

Medical evidence showed the kick to the face may not have been fatal if Mr Jedrzejewski had consumed less alcohol, Mr Lewis also pointed out.

Judge Williams said Wallis was “in no way remorseful” during the trial.

“Your only concern was to lie and to dissemble as you tried to avoid conviction,” he told Wallis.

He added that an aggravating factor was that Mr Jedrzejewski was “particularly vulnerable” because of his drunken state, and because he was lying “defenceless” in the street.

  •  Callum Banton, 18, Shaquille Crosdale, 18, both of Fleetwood Close, Newport, and a 17-year-old youth who cannot be identified, stood trial with Wallis and will face re-trial. A jury was discharged after failing to return verdicts for the three defendants. The trial at Newport Crown Court is expected to last three to four weeks.

Wallis’ mother, Catherine Coslett, 64, of Valley View Road, Cwmtillery, was found guilty of two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice and is due to be sentenced at a later date.