Alan Barefoot death: Yorkshire landlords' son jailed for killing customer in one-punch attack outside his family's pub – The Yorkshire Post

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Benjamin Adam Calvert, 22, floored new father Alan Barefoot, 31, with a single blow to the head in Thirsk last October after the victim was already ‘dazed’ from a head-butt delivered by another punter, 25-year-old Thomas Cressey, of Boroughbridge, who escaped prison for his role in the incident.
The impact on Mr Barefoot’s family was so significant that his former partner and mother of two of his sons took her own life in the aftermath in part due to the trauma she had suffered, Leeds Crown Court heard today.
All three men had been drinking in The Royal Hotel, an establishment run by Calvert’s parents, Mark and Maxine, when an argument began after Mr Barefoot, a window fitter and father of four from South Kilvington, was accused of stealing a drink from Cressey’s brother.
CCTV footage from inside the pub on Thirsk Market Place showed Mr Barefoot, who had arrived at around 5.30pm, sitting on a stool at the bar at 9.45pm. An ‘animated’ conversation then began before Mark Calvert pushed Mr Barefoot off the stool. He did not retaliate and was ushered towards the exit by a group of men, who all then fell over onto the street, injuring a young woman whom they landed on top of.
The court was told that Mr Barefoot was blamed for the injury to the woman’s ankle and landscape gardener Thomas Cressey ‘flipped’ and head-butted him before going back inside the pub. Mr Barefoot appeared dazed, but got to his feet.
Witnesses then saw Benjamin Calvert being restrained by his parents and his mother shouting at him to stop before he escaped their grip and struck Mr Barefoot to the side of his head with a closed fist. One woman described the sound his head made as it struck the ground as ‘like a coconut smashing’ and he was instantly unconscious. He died in hospital eight days later from a catastrophic brain injury.
Mr Barefoot was said to be retreating from the confrontation and did not attempt to defend himself.
Calvert left the scene and changed his clothes, with the original outfit he was wearing having never been recovered by police. He was arrested and tested positive for cocaine. He admitted to drinking around 10 pints of lager, initially claimed self-defence and would not give police the PIN code to his mobile phone. Officers eventually gained access and found messages where he admitted to his role in the incident. He had told police that he could not remember the night’s events.
Cressey handed himself in and admitted his part in the brawl when he heard about a police appeal for information.
Victim impact statements were read out from Mr Barefoot’s mother Karen Banks, partner Charlotte Dickinson and 16-year-old sister. He had become a father to his daughter Willow shortly before his death, and was on his first night out since her birth. He also had three sons from previous relationships.
Karen Banks said: “I know he could be a bit of a rogue but he was taken too soon. I hoped he would be burying me, not the other way round. I feel like they (Calvert and Cressey) are getting away lightly for taking a life. I don’t see all of my grandchildren now and some relationships may now be broken that may not have been if he was still here.”
His sister described him as an ‘outgoing party animal’ who ‘held the family together’ and was excited about his daughter, new job and home.
Charlotte Dickinson, who had been in a relationship with him for around a year, said: “It was love at first sight for us. He wanted to turn his life around and he was open and honest about his past. He always wanted a baby girl and he was so protective of me. He was a hands-on daddy and we had so many plans.”
Defending, Matthew Harding KC said that Calvert had initially ushered others away from Mr Barefoot and was not involved in the build-up to the violence. He said he had changed his clothes in a ‘panic’ when the enormity of the situation became clear and was genuinely remorseful.
Cressey’s barrister, Denise Breen-Lawton KC, said he was ‘full of remorse’ and took full responsibility for his actions. She described him as a ‘caring and polite’ man who had never displayed signs of violence before.
Calvert pleaded guilty to manslaughter at an earlier hearing and Cressey admitted affray.
Sentencing Calvert, of Sowerby, to five years in prison and handing Cressey, of Boroughbridge, a six-month suspended sentence and a night-time curfew, Judge Tom Bayliss said: “This sort of violence ends lives but also blights those of many others. Alan Barefoot’s family have vividly described their anguish and loss.
“Something so trivial as a drink became the catalyst for the trouble and there was little or no retaliation from Alan. Your actions were grossly disproportionate and entirely unjustified. There was a high risk of serious harm and it should have been obvious.
To Calvert he said: “You were in drink and you had taken cocaine. A sober man would have recognised the risk of punching a dazed man to the head. There was no prior thought to the assault, but intoxication has contributed.
“You are both consumed by remorse and your joint actions weigh heavily on you. You are hardworking men respected by your employers, and of otherwise impeccable good character.”
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