Son of Mark Manning speaks to Heart

As a mechanic from Worthing's jailed for 15 years for killing a former bomb disposal expert - his son tells Heart the enormous impact his father's death has had on the family.

Kane Manning says justice has now been done as two men are jailed over his father's death. 

He has told Heart he was shocked to discover those responsible were friends of his dad.  The family were doubly heartbroken to lose Mr Manning and not know what had happened to him for more than 2 years.

He says the loss of his father destroyed his world. The two had a very strong bond.

During the trial at the court heart how Colin Gale, 40, lost control and bludgeoned father-of-two Mark Manning, 54, before enlisting Stewart Robertson to help dispose of his corpse in dense undergrowth in April 2014.

Prosecutors said a row over a £17,000 debt owed to Mr Manning from the sale of two vehicles ended with his 6ft 8in friend Gale deciding to "finish him off'' at P&B Car Sales garage in Western Road, Lancing, West Sussex.

19-year-old Kane was at the trial every day. He says hearing in detail what happened to his father was the hardest thing he has had to do and has had a lasting impact on his life.

Kane says he misses his father every day and has so many good memories of him.  He describes Mr Manning as a brave, kind and loving man who spent his career trying to save lives.

Mr Manning had worked for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a charity backed by Diana, Princess of Wales, which removes landmines and other hazards in some of the world's poorest countries.

He also bought and sold cars. His last deployment with MAG was to the Philippines to help in response to the devastating Typhoon Haiyan disaster, which claimed more than 5,000 lives, in February 2014.

Sentencing Gale to 15 years and eight months in jail at Lewes Crown Court, Judge Shani Barnes said Mr Manning was a ``brave, loving'' man, adding: "It seems to me that the real point is this was a sustained attack.''

She said Gale's actions afterwards were "extraordinary'' as he carried on his life as normal.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Ashcroft is from Sussex Police: 

A trial heard father-of-four Gale claim he acted in self-defence.

He said Mr Manning turned up at his garage and swung an axe at him, leading Gale to pick up a metre-long industrial wrench and hit him at least three or four times.

Jurors heard Mr Manning's body was found after Robertson, 51, told police following his arrest in May 2016 that the corpse had been dumped on land at Hampshire Hill, near Slaugham.

Gale, of Offington Lane, Worthing, denied murder but a jury convicted him of the lesser charge of manslaughter by reason of loss of control. He had earlier admitted preventing the lawful burial of Mr Manning's body.

Robertson, of St Aubyns Road, Portslade, had denied preventing lawful burial but was convicted of the charge following the four-week trial.

Judge Barnes sentenced Robertson to four years in jail.

Watch Stewart Robertson tell detectives where to find Mark Manning's remains:

Michael Bromley-Martin QC, defending Gale, said he faced a "serious fear of violence'' from Mr Manning before Gale lost control.

Mr Bromley-Martin said: "This is a case where Mark Manning, for reasons that are never going to be clear, came at Colin Gale, threatening serious violence.

"And Colin Gale, in self-defence, grabbed at the thing that was nearest to him, that being a large Stillson wrench, and struck Mark Manning and thereafter lost his control in the face of that anticipated violence.''

Relatives of Mr Manning, from King's Road, Lancing, said that his father "died with a broken heart'' as he passed away before his son's body was found.

In a victim impact statement read in court, Mr Manning's son Kane Manning, 18, said his grandfather "never had that chance to say goodbye''.

He said: `"My dad was my life. I looked up to him and now he has been taken from me. I have come to the point where I have had enough.''

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