Killer Kevin Gardner is today behind bars after fatally punching a North East grandfather outside a city centre pub.
Ronald Hayes, of Morpeth, Northumberland , died after fracturing his skull on the pavement during the attack outside the Liverpool Arms on Northgate Street, in Chester, during the early hours of November 23 last year.
Mr Hayes had been enjoying a night out with work colleagues from Stanlow oil refinery at the pub.
Yesterday Gardner, 26, of Westminster Road, in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, was jailed for five years at Chester Crown Court after earlier pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Gardner, a manager of a sports retail store in Ellesmere Port, and his friend Ashley Robinson were drinking in the pub and complained to a barman that Mr Hayes had exposed himself to them.
Although the barman hadn’t seen anything, Mr Hayes was asked to leave.
CCTV footage was shown to the court of Mr Hayes being removed from the pub and Gardner and Mr Robinson, who had also left, talking to Mr Hayes.
Gardner then punched Mr Hayes, who fell to the ground, and the attacker walked away.
Prosecuting, John Wyn Williams read out a text message that Gardner sent to his girlfriend Faye Stevens, in which he told her he had “knocked out” a man who had been looking at him in the pub and that he hoped he wasn’t dead.
Mr Williams also read out a statement by Mr Hayes’ partner, Aubrey David Graham, who described Mr Hayes as calm by nature and “not anybody you would argue with”.
Mr Graham added that they had a “fabulous life together” and he despaired that it had been cut short.
The court heard that Gardner received a caution in 2008 after punching somebody while he was drunk and was warned of the dangers of people banging their heads.
In a letter read out by Maria Masselis, defending, Gardner said: “I am genuinely remorseful for what I did. In the heat of the moment, my emotions got the better of me and I committed what will be the most devastating act of my life that I will regret for the rest of my life.”
Sentencing Gardner, the Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said: “If only you had remained in that public house, Ronald Hayes might be alive and you would not be standing in the dock of Chester Crown Court.”
Judge Edwards said Gardner had threatened to “bang out” Mr Hayes and, having done so, left it to others to help the stricken man.