A JUDGE has locked up three men for the manslaughter of a young father who died after being punched once.
Thomas Ball, 22, collapsed after he was struck the blow by Dominic Croasdale who had been called to help by a friend wrongly expecting trouble at Headingley Halls in Headingley Lane, Leeds.
Sentencing Croasdale and two others yesterday, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said the blow struck him just below the left ear, causing his head to twist tearing the vertebral artery leading to bleeding from which he died.
Croasdale, 21, of Thomas Street, Woodhouse, Leeds, was jailed for four and a half years, Alex Taylor, 20, who was living at the Headingley Halls, was sent to a young offender institution for the same period and Dwayne Thomas, 20, of Berkely Crescent, Harehills, Leeds, was given three years in a young offender institution. All three were convicted by a jury of the manslaughter of Mr Ball of Woodview Terrace, Beeston, Leeds.
The judge said Mr Ball had been drinking with friends before they decided to visit the Halls to see Jordan Randall, hoping to have more drink and enjoy themselves.
Earlier that day one of the defendants Taylor had been accused of causing damage in the kitchen of the premises and blamed Mr Randall for informing on him.
When the group arrived outside the halls, Judge Collier said the intercom system was broken so they stood outside calling for Jordan to let them in.
"You Taylor heard that and such was your self-centredness and paranoia that you assumed that these were people coming to join forces with Jordan and seek revenge for your treatment of him earlier that day."
He phoned Croasdale and persuaded him to come and help him and he brought along his cousin, Thomas.
Taylor met them at the door armed with a baseball bat and the trio then went up to the floor where Mr Ball and his friends had gone into a room.
It was accepted they did not intend to cause serious injury and the consequences were unforeseen, but the blow then struck by Croasdale was "unlawful".
Taylor, by having the bat, intimidated others while Thomas added "to the weight of numbers".
The judge said it was an aggravating feature that the trio had left without seeking help for the injured man. The harm is that a man's life was tragically cut short."
He had a partner and young son and a close family. Judge Collier said he had read of their pain and "aching void" which his death had caused them.
They also commented their grief had been made worse by the arrogant attitude of the defendants at previous court hearings.
After the sentence Mr Ball's father Alwyn thanked police officers for their support throughout the case. "We would not have got through it without them.
"Thomas was a fantastic son and father, we all miss him."