A 20-YEAR-old man has been jailed for four years for killing a Royal Marine with a single blow.
Reece Kay punched Wesley Clutterbuck, 19, from Whitworth, causing him to fall back and fracture his skull in Rochdale town centre on June 29.
Manchester Crown Court heard yesterday how Wesley’s tragic death had torn both men’s families apart.
Justin Hayhoe, prosecuting, read a statement from Wesley’s mother in court, describing the ex-Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar pupil as ‘a provider, a role model and a father figure’ to his younger siblings.
He said: “His mother cannot speak about it because she would constantly cry.
“His younger sister can no longer go to him for advice. His younger brother won’t talk about it and has shut down.
“The family are effectively devastated.”
For Kay, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to manslaughter, Guy Mathieson said: “His family shares his remorse and shame for the unintended consequences of his actions.
“It’s a stark lesson to young people who get drunk and aggressive. A tragic loss of life and a family devastated by that loss and another with a lifelong guilt and shame.”
The two men were with groups of friends when a row broke out at around 3am between a man and a woman, the court heard.
Wesley went over to intervene in the argument on the side of the woman and was approached by Kay, a friend of the rowing couple.
After words between the pair, Wesley began to walk away, followed closely by Kay. Friends of the two men then pulled them apart and guided them off in separate directions.
The men were around 15 metres apart when Kay, of Waithlands Road, Rochdale, broke away from his friends’ attempts to lead him away. He then ran towards Wesley, from the side and delivered one hard punch to his jaw, the court heard.
Wesley hit his head on the pavement and was knocked unconscious.
High Court judge Mr Justice Holroyde, presiding, said: “You hit him without warning, giving no chance to defend himself, or avoid the blow.
“His young life was full of promise and was needlessly ended.”