A 25-year-old Huddersfield man has this morning admitted the manslaughter of Halifax rugby union club player Andrew Feather who died at the Liquid nightclub last month.
The 38-year-old’s friends and family members packed a courtroom at Bradford Crown Court earlier today to hear Dale McLean formally enter his guilty plea to the unlawful killing charge before the Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC.
Mr Feather, a former student at Hipperholme Grammar School, had been out celebrating a match victory when he was punched during an incident at the Halifax night spot.
McLean, of Greenfield Avenue, Oakes, was wearing a blue sweatshirt and jeans as he sat in the dock a few metres away from some of Mr Feather’s relatives who were allowed to sit in the jury box.
He spoke only to confirm his name and to enter his plea of guilty to the charge.
During the hearing Judge Roger Thomas confirmed that McLean, who was remanded back into custody, would be sentenced on April 30th.
Prosecutor Richard Davies told the judge that CCTV of the incident in the nightclub would be shown during the next hearing and he revealed that McLean had been involved in a previous incident of common assault which was of ‘’similar in nature’’.
Mr Davies said the common assault was not proceeded with against McLean because he was also being dealt with for an offence of violent disorder.
‘’There may also be CCTV in regard to a previous common assault which the defendant was not convicted of but which I understand is very similar,’’ said Mr Davies.
‘’I’m told that the common assault is very similar in terms of a blow being struck to a person in a public house.’’
McLean’s lawyer Carl Kingsley said he was not putting forward any basis of plea at this stage and he did believe there would be any psychiatric issues in the case.
Judge Roger Thomas ordered a pre-sentence report to be prepared on McLean in time for the next hearing.
Tributes were paid to Mr Feather following his death last month.
Rugby club chairman Graham Smith said Mr Feather was a “loyal member who was held in high regard”.
Mr Smith said Mr Feather had been with the rugby club for more than 10 years and had been club secretary for a year.
Mr Smith said: “We’d had a good day on Saturday, both teams had won and I spoke to Andy after the game and he was in great spirits.
Darren Emmerson, friend and fellow player, said: “He was a really warm guy, a true gentleman.’’