Sentence handed out to killer from Brigg 'too lenient' claims friend of victim
A friend of a popular teenager killed in a street brawl said the sentence given to his killer from Brigg was “not enough.”
A court heard there was a history of “bad blood” between two men which led to a tragedy when one of them killed the other after repeatedly hitting him around the head as he lay unconscious during a violent street fight.
Richard Winn knocked 18-year-old Daniel Cooper to the ground with two powerful punches and continued hitting him while his defenceless victim was slumped unconscious on the ground.
Daniel died four days later from serious head injuries, the court was told.
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Winn, 20, who lived in Brigg as a bail condition, was locked up for five years after admitting manslaughter on July 15 last year.
Friends of Daniel, who lived in Grimsby, said the sentence was too lenient.
Councillor Jon-Paul Howarth, a volunteer at The Shalom youth club, where Daniel spent time, said: “Five years for taking someone’s life is nothing.
“It is just my personal view but I expect he will be out on good behaviour after just two-and-a-half years, which is no where near enough. If someone takes someone else’s life they should expect a long time locked up. His mum has lost her son and she got a lifetime punishment because she is not going to see him growing up.”
Claire Smith, 24, said: “Danny was a popular lad, well-liked and polite.
“I don’t think five years is enough for what he has put Danny’s family through. Danny never caused any harm to anyone and he never had a life.”
Anil Murray, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court that there had been problems between Mr Cooper and Winn.
They decided they would have a “one-on-one” fight in Castle Street, Grimsby, near Winn’s home.
Daniel was “jumping around and agitated as if he was looking for a fight”.
Both men threw punches and Winn smashed Daniel in the face, causing a cracking noise.
He fell to the ground but got up again.
Winn swung another punch, which missed, and the fight continued.
Winn knocked Daniel to the ground with another powerful punch, leaving him apparently unconscious, with his eyes rolling and legs twitching.
Winn was seen repeatedly punching Daniel – who was not moving – in the face and head.
Winn, who was 19 at the time, stopped only when one of Daniel’s friends, Lewis Durkin, hit him on the head with a bicycle lock.
The victim was helped back to his home and was aided by his cousin, Charlotte Hatfield. He was taken to hospital and transferred to Hull Royal Infirmary, where he died on July 19 last year from complications caused by head injuries.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told Winn: “By your unlawful violence, a young man has died. I appreciate you did not intend to kill or even cause him really serious harm. You would have continued had you not been stopped.”
There had been “bad blood” between the two men and Winn had been “frenzied up”, said Judge Richardson.
Winn had a “history of violence”. An assault conviction in 2010 involved shooting someone with an air rifle.
“This case should serve as an example of the appalling consequences which may arise when a fight takes place,” said Judge Richardson.
Andrew Bailey, mitigating, said: “This is a tragic case. A young man’s life has been lost. He is struggling still to come to terms genuinely with what happened and what he has done.
“It’s a fact that young, immature teenage men do get involved in fighting each other. They never envisaged that these might be the consequences.
“The consequences here were unforeseen and unintended. The two young men were willing participants in a fight.”
The court heard that Winn originally denied manslaughter but changed his plea to guilty. He had been living in Brigg as a bail condition throughout the case.
Members of Daniel’s family, including his mother, Sue Gott, were in court for the hearing but declined to comment.
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Lauren Poultney said: “I am sure no party to that fight ever anticipated death would be a consequence of their actions. Tragically, for Daniel and his family, it was.
“That act of violence has left one family without a son, brother, cousin and nephew they all loved.
“This loss is very difficult for them to live with and I respect their courage and dignity.
“Violence and fighting do not resolve disputes. They do leave devastation in their wake. I urge those who think violence is an answer to think about Daniel and his family.”