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8 November 2013, 16:21
A 26-year-old man has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a man in Reading in April.
Craig Leighton, of Coombe Road, Tilehurst, Reading, was convicted following a two week trial at Reading Crown Court.
In the early hours of 21 April 2013 he assaulted 52-year-old Kevin White in School Road, Tilehurst.
Mr White was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, but later died of his injuries.
Following today’s conviction, senior investigating officer in the case, DCI Kevin Brown of Major Crime at Taplow, said: “This was a unique and difficult case. Murder was a very difficult offence to prove in these circumstances, though it was right to be put before a jury as a very loving and caring family man was killed by an act of outright thuggery. The jury had to negotiate some complex areas of law and I thank them for their ability to make an informed, considered and ultimately common sense decision in convicting the violent individual Leighton.
“Leighton did not know Kevin White, who at the time of the tragedy was not a well man and virtually blind, but within seconds of their meeting Leighton had punched and kicked Kevin, subsequently causing his death some days later. He then ran away before making up an account where he blamed Kevin for the incident.
“Leighton has shown little remorse and will, rightly, serve a term of imprisonment which will protect the public from any further unprovoked and mindless attacks.
“I pay tribute to Kevin’s family of whom he would be proud given their dignity, resilience and support to the police investigation and court proceedings. These are their thoughts:
“We would like to thank all of our friends, family and the local community, medical staff and police for all the help and support we have been given during this devastating time.
“After two weeks of listening to the evidence from witnesses at the scene our family and friends can now finally try, in some way, to come to terms with what has happened.
“No words can express the extreme pain we are going through. Kevin has been taken from us in such a sudden, unjust and violent attack. We hope no other family has to experience what we have.”
Ruth Bowskill, temporary Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service said: “Leighton admitted punching Kevin, but denied kicking him.
“This case represents a tragedy for the family of Mr White. His family and friends have been devastated by his untimely death.
“I would like to pay tribute to Mr White’s family for their wholehearted support of this investigation and the dignity they have displayed while hearing the horrific details of how Mr White was killed.
“We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Mr White back to his family, but we hope that today’s conviction and sentence brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time.”
Leighton was sentenced to six-and-a-half years.