THE angry family of a young man killed by a single punch said they were “disgusted” his attacker was jailed for just three years and four months.
Gafyn Denman, a 22-year-old aircraft worker of Woodlands Close, Mold, was handed the sentence by Judge Merfyn Hughes, QC, at Caernarfon Crown Court yesterday.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Peter Jones, 24, from Mold, following an incident in Buckley last May.
Mr Jones’ mother, Christine, 48, said outside the court: “Can this be justice to a family who loved their son so much? The sentence is not enough – the family have a life term.”
Grandmother Anne Jones added : “Soon, Gafyn Denman will be back on the streets but our Peter won’t.”
The court heard that after inflicting the blow Denman, who was drunk, had run away and hidden in bushes.
Mr Jones had fallen to the ground, sustaining catastrophic head injuries.
The judge said innocent Mr Jones had died quite needlessly and that Denman had been “spoiling for trouble” throughout an evening’s drinking. At one stage he had even assaulted a female member of his group.
As he went to his son’s aid Mr Jones’ father, also called Peter, 48, who had spent the evening with him, was assaulted by 22-year-old Ross Taylor, an insulator, of Llys y Wern, Sychdyn, Mold, who punched him to the ground.
He was given an eight-month sentence after pleading guilty to causing actual bodily harm.
Taylor said at the time he’d been unaware that Mr Jones junior had been attacked. Owen Edwards, prosecuting, said two groups were in Precinct Way, Buckley, when Denman called Mr Jones junior by the name of a cartoon character.
As he walked towards him Denman punched him on the jaw, with Mr Jones’s head hitting the ground.
“He felled him with one punch,” said Mr Edwards.
“Immediately after, Peter Jones senior was assaulted by Taylor, causing him to fall to the floor.”
Meanwhile Peter Jones junior was lying unconscious in the road.
“Denman had run off and was hiding in some bushes, covered in leaves and quite drunk,” said Mr Edwards.
At Walton Hospital, Liverpool, Mr Jones had been assessed as brain dead.
Mr Edwards added: “In this case the aggravating features are that Denman crossed the road to target Peter Jones without provocation. It was drunken street violence.”
Duncan Bould, defending Denman, said: “Nothing I can say in mitigation is an attempt in any way to minimise the tragedy.
“It was a tragedy that was unintended so far as he was concerned and he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He must take responsibility for the blow.”
Denman was courteous and well mannered normally but there was a problem when he’d been drinking, he explained.
He said he was deeply sorry for what happened.
Had Denman pleaded not guilty the sentence would have been five years.
Huw Roberts, defending Taylor, said he was a hard worker who had been employed since he left school.
Since the events of that night he’d reduced the amount that he drank and went out less frequently.
Turning to Taylor the judge said: “Your contribution to the violence was completely unnecessary. Your girlfriend had informed you what had happened and was pleading with you not to get involved. Your attack was premeditated although it was not within your knowledge it was committed on a father who had just seen his son dealt a fatal blow to the head.”
Speaking after the sentencing Detective Sergeant Kevin Bowden said: “Incidents such as this are rare in North Wales. However, when they do occur they are robustly investigated in order to bring perpetrators to justice.”
See full story in the Leader