Last person sentenced following death of Billy Dove - Hemel Hempstead

31/08/2012

A teenager who sparked the violence last November that led to the death of Billy Dove has been banned by a judge from getting drunk in a public place.

Violent Ben Sears, aged 18 was a nasty drunk, spoiling for trouble the night he began throwing punches in Hemel Hempstead town centre.

For young Billy who was out that night with a group of friends, he was in a the wrong place at the wrong time when he encountered Sears and his friends.

Today, Friday, 31 August 2012, Sears, of Belsize Road in Hemel Hempstead, appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court where he admitted the charge of affray.

The sentence of Sears had been adjourned so he could be assessed to see if he is suitable for anger management treatment.

His appearance in court today, Friday, 31 August 2012, was the final chapter in the sentencing that has taken place this summer of a number of young men who were behind the violence that broke out in the town centre and led to the death of 21-year-old Billy Dove.

In June Darren McGrath, 17, of  Essex Mead, Hemel Hempstead pleaded guilty to the murder of Billy. He was ordered to be "detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure" and told he must remain in custody for a minimum period of 14-years.

Carl Williams, 21, and Charlie Samson,18, also pleaded guilty to affray. Williams of Barnacres Road, Hemel Hempstead, who the judge said had been on the periphery of the affray, was given a 12-month community order with supervision and told he must attend an education and training programme. Samson of St Agnells Lane in the town was sentenced to 112-days imprisonment, which meant that because of the time he had already served in custody, he was released.

Billy who lived with his family in Hemel Hempstead had gone out on the evening of 05 November last year with his friends to a firework party. At the end of the night he and the group were in Hemel Hempstead town centre visiting local pubs.

Ian Wade QC, prosecuting said also out that night was Sears and the other defendants. Sears was spoiling for trouble that night because, said Mr Wade he believed his mum was having an affair with a member of staff at a nightclub in the town centre called The Function Room.

Sears had drunk heavily that evening and had taken cocaine. He had on him knuckle dusters and after meeting up with the other defendants in The Venture Pub he said he wanted to go to the nightclub and confront the man. The court heard that having arrived at the club's entrance, staff noticed how agitated he was and refused him entry.

In the club that night was his mum. Mr Wade said Sears went round the side of the building and managed to speak to her through the bars of a gate.

"His mother tried to calm him down, but it's clear he did not calm down," said the prosecutor.

Also passing through the town centre that night was Billy and some friends. They were walking by and causing no trouble, but Sears took it upon himself to start a fight with the other group at the point where Waterhouse Street connects with Market Square.

The court was told there was a brief lull in the violence before Sears again attacked someone in the other group and more fighting broke out. Moments later at a spot near a Gregg's bakers Billy was fatally stabbed by McGrath.

Judge Gullick sentenced Sears to a 2-year supervision order and told him he must carry out 100-hours of unpaid work. In addition, he was made the subject of a prohibition order banning him from being found intoxicated in any public place for the next 2-years.

The judge told Sears: "You are 19-years-old and pleaded guilty to a charge of affray, which was a drunken fight between groups of young men in the early hours of 06 November last year in the middle of Hemel Hempstead. It was the sort of fight that young men seemed to get involved in in city centres and town centres up and down the country. I am in no doubt that you were fuelled up that night."

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