FIVE men have been jailed for life, including a father and son, for the brutal “mob-handed” murder of a former soldier who was chased through the streets after a night out.
Sentencing them yesterday the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said when Ian Smith was finally brought to the ground in South Elmsall by John Dean Richardson “the pack was upon him”.
He was kicked about his head and body and during the violence that followed was struck two or three blows to his head with a pick axe handle by Richardson’s son John Simon, suffering a fractured skull and bleeding from which he died.
“This was a mob-handed attack upon a man who was unarmed and alone,” the judge said. “Furthermore it was committed at night in a public place where there were other people present, some of them were young people, some of them were the friends of the victim and saw this terrible ending of his life.”
John Simon Richardson, 23, then of Harrow Street, South Elmsall admitted murdering Mr Smith, 22, of Boycott Way, South Elmsall on February 19 and was ordered at Leeds Crown Court to serve a minimum of 16 years 307 days from yesterday.
The other four were found guilty of the murder by a jury last week. Bradley Parkin, 22, of Mallard Mews, South Elmsall was given a minimum of 17 years 152 days, He was also given nine months concurrent after admitting two offences of affray and one of assault on an earlier occasion, for which he was on bail at the time.
John Dean Richardson, 44, of Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam, near Pontefract was jailed for a minimum of 13 years 124 days, Liam Ackroyd of Bell Lane, Ackworth, will serve a minimum of 15 years 364 days and Neil Brown, 29, also of Mallard Mews, was given a minimum 16 years 364 days.
The judge said Mr Smith’s night had begun with a family celebration before he visited local public houses. He then arranged to meet a friend outside a takeaway in Barnsley Road and had been laughing when he last spoke to her.
But outside the takeaway he became involved in an argument with Richardson senior, possibly over the man trying to take some of his chips. Mr Smith was annoyed and put Richardson to the ground.
Prior to that, however, Richardson had summoned help on the phone for some trouble he was having with a different group. And when his son and Ackroyd arrived in a Transit and saw him on the ground, they began chasing Mr Smith, Richardson senior having told him “it’s your turn now.” Brown and Parkin arrived in a second vehicle and joined in the pursuit.
Mr Smith ran back on his route and, by then, Richardson senior had got to his feet and brought him to the ground where he was attacked.
Richardson junior’s counsel Alistair MacDonald QC said having taken M-Cat and cocaine as well as drink he had reacted at seeing his father down and expressed remorse for his actions.
The judge said he accepted their intention was not to kill Mr Smith and the whole thing was over quickly but having rendered him senseless they all fled the scene.
Statements from Mr Smith’s family provided “a very moving account of the devastating loss they had suffered.
“It is clear that each member of the family continues to feel very deeply the enormity of that loss, having a son or brother taken from you so suddenly and so violently is beyond comprehension and any healing of the hurt will be only partial and may be a long time coming.”