Gillingham; Teenager Sentenced For Manslaughter

24 July 2013, 16:45 | Updated: 24 July 2013, 17:28

A teenager has been jailed for killing a 28 year old father-of-two in Gillingham on New Year's Day.

Thomas Hodge, of Beatty Avenue in Gillingham,was found guilty by a jury of manslaughter but not guilty of murder of David Young, who died of stab wounds four days after the attack on January 1.

The 17 year old, who can now be named after a judge lifted reporting restrictions, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court today (Wednesday 24 July) to seven years; three years to be served in young offenders? institute, six months in an adult prison and the remainder of the term on licence.

Stuart Porter, 18, of Buttermere Close in Gillingham, was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

A jury was told the weapon used penetrated the victim's thigh between 5cm to 7cm and severed an artery, which led to his death.

Mr Young, of Beatty Avenue in Gillingham, and a group of friends, which included his brother, had been out celebrating on New Year's Eve at the Casino Rooms in Rochester. They were on their way back to Gillingham when they clashed with a group of teenagers in Windmill Street.

The court heard that Mr Young and his friend began fighting with the teenagers and punches were thrown. During this time, a fight also broke out amongst the two groups of girls and Mr Young?s friend went off to help break it up.

He left the victim on his own and when he returned, he was approached by two teenagers, one of which was Hodge, and a fight ensued. It soon broke off and Mr Young was found sitting on the floor with what appeared to be a stab wound in the left thigh.

He was carried by friends and his brother to Medway Maritime Hospital where he was met by Kent Police officers who commenced CPR until a paramedic arrived.

The victim received treatment for a stab wound to his leg and blood loss but died of his injury on January 5.

Officers carried out an area search and arrested two teenagers in Windmill Road.

Upon sentencing, Judge Jeremy Carey said: "This case is a depressingly familiar one, a story of excessive drinking, group violence and carrying of a blade - a deadly combination leading to the needless loss of life, and a precious life.

"I commend the police for their painstaking investigation and their prosecution of what was a very difficult case."

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Jon Clayden of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was a tragic case in which a father of two young children lost his life following a fight between two groups of people that had been on a night out on New Year's Eve.

"What should have been a time of celebration has ended up being, for one family, a New Year to forget.

"What started as a fist fight between two groups of people soon escalated and a knife was used, which resulted in David Young losing his life.

"Unfortunately, this once again highlights the possible repercussions of carrying a knife. If the weapon wasn?t used in this fight then this tragedy would have been avoided. The message here is very simple; don?t carry knives because if you end up in a situation where you choose to draw it and use it against somebody else, you will be arrested, charged and given a custodial sentence."