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13 June 2016, 17:09
The family of a young man who died after being stabbed on a night out in Warwickshire say there lives have changed forever.
Three men have been sentenced today (13th June) to a total of nearly forty years in prison in connection with the death of 20 year old Morgan Hehir.
Morgan was murdered on Halloween night, Saturday 31st October 2015, after walking along Pool Bank Street.
Declan Jay Gray aged 21 of Waverly Square, Nuneaton, who had been standing trial for his murder, entered a guilty plea at Warwick Crown Court on Wednesday (8th June). Today (Monday 13th June) he was sentenced to 23 years and nine months in prison.
Declan's brother Karlton Marc Gray aged 19, of the same address, and 40 year old Simon Rowbotham, of Meadow Street, Nuneaton, pleaded guilty on Friday (10th June) to manslaughter. Karlton has been sentenced to six years and nine months in prison whilst Simon has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Morgan from Nuneaton, was fatally stabbed at around 9.10pm, after walking along Pool Bank Street with a group of friends.
They were amongst a group of men who shouted abuse at them, before an fight started. Morgan was stabbed with a knife to the torso and died in hospital overnight.
The family have also released a video tribute to Morgan:
Following the sentence Morgan's family paid the following tribute:
"Morgan should be here today. He was living life to the full and doing the things he loved; music, arts and watching Nuneaton boro' at the weekends after working all week at George Eliot Hospital. He was out with his friends having a few beers on the town. "
"Declan Gray, Karlton Gray and Simon Rowbotham changed everything in our lives- never to be the same again. With the help of our friends and family we have managed to get through these very dark times.
We are so overwhelmed by so much love, that has come our way though Morgan and his friends, his work colleagues and the whole town who have been so shocked by what has happened to our wonderful son and brother of Connor and Eamon- We will be eternally grateful.
We would like to thank the Crown Prosecution Service and the Police for their professionalism but also for making my family feel part of their team.
We welcome the sentence of life imprisonment imposed on Declan Gray but we also feel we have begun our life sentence of 'life without Morgan'."
Upon sentencing judge Griffith-Jones said described the attack as "wholly unjustified, it was ruthless and it was vicious."
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Downes who led the investigation said:
"The death of Morgan Hehir has shocked the Nuneaton community. It was a violent and unprovoked attack which took this young man, with his whole future ahead of him, away from his family and friends.
Whilst nothing can bring Morgan back, today justice has been served to those responsible.
We have been supporting Morgan's family and friends throughout this ordeal, and our thoughts and condolences are with them.
Cases like this are extremely rare in Warwickshire, but have a devastating impact. We are doing all we can to prevent knife crime and continue to make Warwickshire a safe place to live."
Jason Corden-Bowen, Acting District Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:
"Like many young people across the country on Halloween night, Morgan Hehir and his friends were indulging in harmless socialising, however, their night ended in tragedy when they were set upon by the three defendants in an unprovoked and deliberate attack.
"The friends were targeted by the three who, including Declan Gray who was armed with a knife, launched an attack.
"Tragically this ended with Morgan Hehir, who had campaigned against knife violence, being fatally stabbed.
"We recognise that no sentence would adequately address the loss to Mr Hehir's family and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."