Jack Carter was struck one blow by Mohammed Nazakat Alam which twisted his head in such a way that it ruptured an artery, causing internal bleeding. He died in hospital three days later, on August 31.
Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday that Alam had lashed out after he and a group of others arrived in Victoria Road, Thornhill Lees, in time to see Mr Carter’s girlfriend Melanie Boocock behaving in a threatening way, racially abusing some Asian men.
They included one who had allegedly been the victim of a serious aggravated burglary a couple of days earlier at his home in Victoria Road, when he and his family were attacked by a man armed with knives.
That had led to the police being involved and the arrest of a friend of Mr Carter and his partner.
Christopher Tehrani, prosecuting, told the court that incident had led to “a degree of tension between the Asian and white communities living around Victoria Road”.
Mr Carter was also being abusive when he first left his friend’s home in Victoria Road, but had calmed down and was just watching the confrontation as his partner abused the Asian men about the arrest, when Alam suddenly ran over and struck him.
After he fell to the ground unconscious another resident of the street, Nisar Shah, came out of his house and stood on Mr Carter’s face, causing further minor injuries. After realising Mr Carter was seriously hurt, however, Shah then tried to help him.
Mr Carter was taken to Dewsbury District Hospital where scans and X-rays revealed he had a fractured skull and serious bleeding around the brain, from which he died.
Julian Goose QC, for Alam, said the blow was of moderate force against a background of racial hostility and the consequences were wholly unintended. “A punch doesn’t normally cause someone to die,” he added.
Alam, 25, of Beckett Lane, Dewsbury Moor, admitted the manslaughter of Mr Carter, 39, of Bretton Street, Savile Town, Dewsbury, and was jailed for 21 months.
Sentencing him, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said he accepted Alam was angered and provoked by Miss Boocock’s behaviour but the punch he threw at Mr Carter had tragic consequences. His death had devastated his family.
Shah, 40, then of Victoria Road, Thornhill Lees, was given a six- month prison sentence suspended for two years, with 120 hours unpaid work after admitting assaulting Mr Carter, causing him actual bodily harm.
After the case Mr Carter’s family said in a statement: “We are still completely devastated at the loss of Jack, who was a fantastic bloke, a brilliant brother, son and uncle. We all miss him terribly.”
“Whilst the family do not feel that these people wanted to kill Jack, he did not deserve to die in this way, so we did want justice.”
DCI Mark Ridley said: “The tragic circumstances of Mr Carter’s death should serve as a clear warning that a single punch can end a life.”
Superintendent Dave Lunn thanked the community for its support during the investigation. He said there was always the potential for individuals to seek to exploit tensions in such cases “but the trust given the police had led to a positive outcome”.