Page last updated at 20:39 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Teenage killer's custody doubled over Gloucester attack

William McNaught
William McNaught was killed by a single punch to the head

A teenager who killed a man with one punch has had his sentence more than doubled to three-and-a-half years.

Darryl Church, then 17, attacked William McNaught, 24, in Gloucester in an unprovoked incident in May 2009.

Church, 18, of Abbeydale, Gloucester, admitted manslaughter and was initially sent to a young offenders' institution for 20 months in November.

The term was increased after the Attorney General referred the case to appeal, saying it was unduly lenient.

The punch twisted Mr McNaught's neck, rupturing a vital artery and severing the flow of blood to his brain.

There was nothing that that young man did that evening that justified any violence being shown to him
Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge

In November, Bristol Crown Court heard Church had earlier been given a 12-month referral order for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, after he punched another teenager and fractured his jaw.

Giving judgment at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge described the incident as "yet another tragic death resulting from yobbery in the street".

"We have read the victim impact statement and we recognise that words simply cannot do justice to the grief that has been caused to the family of that dead young man," he said.

"There was nothing that that young man did that evening that justified any violence being shown to him.

"Although the offender was still young, he knew exactly how much damage a full-force blow to the head can cause."

Sitting in London with Mr Justice Penry-Davey and Mr Justice Irwin, he added: "It is accepted on behalf of the offender that the sentence was a lenient one in all the circumstances, but the contention is that, looking at previous cases and the matter in the round, it would be wrong to treat it as unduly lenient.

"Having reflected on the case and considered the CCTV footage [of the incident], we respectfully disagree with that submission.

"In our judgment, this was an unduly lenient sentence."



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