Man convicted and jailed for manslaughter - Reading

08/11/2013

A man appeared at Reading Crown Court today, Friday, 08 November 2013, was convicted of the manslaughter of a man in Reading in April, and jailed for six and a half years.

Craig Leighton, aged 26, of Coombe Road, Tilehurst, Reading, was found guilty by a jury, following a two week trial at Reading Crown Court.

Leighton assaulted 52-year-old Kevin White in School Road, Tilehurst, in the early hours of 21 April this year.

Mr White was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, but died of his injuries six days later.

Ruth Bowskill, Temporary Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the tragic death of 52-year-old Kevin White.

"On the evening of 20/21 April 2013, Craig Leighton attended the Prince of Wales public house in Tilehurst, Reading for a music event/live band with friends and family.  Kevin was also in attendance.  As the event was drawing to a close Leighton approached Kevin and punched him in the face causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the road and then kicked him while he was on the ground.  Leighton admitted punching him, but denied kicking him.

"This case represents a tragedy for the family of Mr White. His family and friends have been devastated by his untimely death.

"I would like to pay tribute to Mr White's family for their wholehearted support of this investigation and the dignity they have displayed while hearing the horrific details of how Mr White was killed.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Mr White back to his family, but we hope that today's conviction and sentence brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

Following today's conviction, Senior Investigating Officer in the case, Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Brown of Major Crime at Taplow, said: "This was a unique and difficult case. Murder was a very difficult offence to prove in these circumstances, though it was right to be put before a jury as a very loving and caring family man was killed by an act of outright thuggery. The jury had to negotiate some complex areas of law and I thank them for their ability to make an informed, considered and ultimately common sense decision in convicting the violent individual Leighton.

"Leighton did not know Kevin White, who at the time of the tragedy was not a well man and virtually blind, but within seconds of their meeting Leighton had punched and kicked Kevin, subsequently causing his death some days later. He then ran away before making up an account where he blamed Kevin for the incident.

"Leighton has shown little remorse and will, rightly, serve a term of imprisonment, which will protect the public from any further unprovoked and mindless attacks.

"I pay tribute to Kevin's family of whom he would be proud given their dignity, resilience and support to the police investigation and court proceedings."