Nightclub doorman jailed for manslaughter

19/05/2015

A nightclub doorman has been sentenced to four years in prison for the manslaughter of a man he had punched.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Stuart Humphreys punched Scott Sheard outside the Destination Bar in Coronation Walk, Southport at around 6am on 17 October 2009.

Mr Sheard was knocked unconscious by the punch and fell to the ground, suffering serious head injuries.

He was taken to hospital but was then transferred to Walton Neurological Centre in Liverpool because of the seriousness of the head injuries.

It became clear that, despite several operations, the injuries would leave Mr Sheard in what is known as a "vegetative state", if he were to survive at all.

He did survive, but needed constant supervision and care and was being treated in a care home when he developed complications in January 2012 and died.

Humphreys had always maintained that he did not punch Mr Sheard, but that he hit him with his open hand and that he did this in self-defence.

The court heard that, just before the incident, Humphreys pushed Mr Sheard out of the club after he'd tried to take a bottle of beer outside.

CCTV at the club captured Mr Sheard coming out of the doors backwards and stumbling on a step.

This was seen by Mr Sheard's two friends, who had been talking to the other doorman at the club and a row broke out between Mr Sheard and his friends and Humphreys.

Mr Sheard was seen to move towards Humphreys but then stood still for around thirty seconds before Humphreys punched him to the face.

The Crown Prosecution Service initially considered charging Humphreys with assault but decided that there was not enough evidence to contradict Humphreys claim that he had been acting in self-defence.

The case was reviewed again when Mr Sheard died but the same decision was reached.

Following a further request from Mr Sheards' family, the Crown Prosecution Service reviewed that decision again and further advice was sought from a senior barrister.

The Chief Crown Prosecutor for Mersey Cheshire CPS, Claire Lindley, then gave the police authority to charge Humphreys with manslaughter.

Humphreys was found guilty following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in April and was sentenced today (19 5 2015).

When he was convicted, Claire Lindley, Chief Crown Prosecutor of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This is a tragic case where a young man on a night out suffered a blow from which he never recovered.

"His family were by his side in the years following the incident but eventually they lost the son that they loved.

"It has been a long journey for them and they have conducted themselves with dignity throughout their ordeal.

"Stuart Humphreys has now been convicted of Mr Sheard's manslaughter and I hope that brings some closure for his family.

"There are no winners in this tragic case. Despite his conviction, Mr Sheard's family still have to try and come to terms with the loss of their son and our thoughts remain with them."