Man jailed for manslaughter - Bedford

10/04/2017

Two friends, who regularly travelled to London to watch West Ham play, fell out after a game last December with tragic consequence.

In a drunken row outside an East London pub, on 3 December 2016, following the club's 5-1 defeat to Arsenal, friends of the pair had to keep them apart after they grappled in the street. But, hours later, after the group had returned by train to Bedford, Nigel Williams, who had earlier tried to headbutt his friend Mark Munday, was still seething.

A court heard today, Monday, 10b April 2017, how Williams went into a bar, where he knew Mr Munday was having a last pint and, after walking up behind him, punched him once so hard that it sent him reeling. Mr Munday, a 48-year-old father of three grown up sons, fell into a table and, when he tried to stand up, fell backwards into a fruit machine. Customers and staff in The Grafton Hotel in Midland Road, Bedford, rushed to his aid and an ambulance was called. He was rushed to Bedford Hospital where, just hours later, he died from a subarachnoid haemorrhage - a bleed on the brain.

Luton Crown Court was told today by prosecutor, Tim Probert-Wood, that witnesses in the bar said the punch was thrown with real brute force.

Judge Michael Kay QC, hearing the case, was told that the impact from the single punch to the side of Mr Munday's head, had caused his neck to twist so violently that an artery at the base of his skull had torn, resulting in the fatal haemorrhage.

Today, Williams appeared at court via a video link from Norwich Prison, where he has been remanded in custody since his arrest on 4 December last year. He pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter, which was accepted by the prosecution.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Munday's wife told how she and her husband had been married for 26 years and had worked hard to make a happy life for their three sons. She described Mark as a "loving husband, who was devoted to his three sons." She went on: "The loss of Mark has left a gap in the lives of so many people. She said following his death, nearly 400 people had attended his funeral. "There is not a minute of every day that goes by when I don't think of Mark and miss him and want him." She said when her phone rings or she receives a text, at first she expects it to be her husband. She says she is unable to sleep at night in her bed because, without her husband, it seems "too big and too empty. I am terrified of what life looks like with Mark not with me."

Anthony Rimmer, defending, said his client and Mr Munday had been good friends for many years and had socialised together and had also gone on holiday together. "The tragedy is that, as far as Mr Williams and Mr Munday are concerned, they had developed a good friendship, building up over 14 years."

Judge Kay jailed Williams for five years.

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