Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Sailor killed in 'racist attack'

From left: Daniel Rogers, Chay Fields and Stephen Pritchard
Rogers, Fields and Pritchard denied murder but admitted manslaughter

Three teenagers have pleaded guilty to killing an Indian sailor in a "racially motivated" attack after he arrived on a ship near Southampton.

Gregory Fernandes, 32, of Goa, had been out for a drink in Fawley in October 2007 when he was attacked by youths.

Stephen Pritchard, of Dibden, Daniel Rogers, of Fawley, both 18, and Chay Fields, 16, of Blackfield, admitted manslaughter at Winchester Crown Court.

They also pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on another sailor.

Two 15-year-old boys from Fawley, who cannot be identified, also admitted causing grievous bodily harm to, and assaulting, Mr Fernandes' shipmate Vinod Pitchilnaviram, 29.

Pritchard, of Cathay Gardens, Rogers, of Falcon Fields, and Fields, of Priest Croft Drive, will be sentenced at a later date.

Heart failure

Gregory Fernandes (Photo: Hampshire Constabulary)
Mr Fernandes died from heart failure after being attacked

Mr Fernandes and Mr Pitchilnaviram had soft drinks at the hotel on the evening of 20 October 2007.

They were returning to the cargo ship The Garonne, berthed at Fawley oil refinery, when they were attacked by a group of about 20 teenagers, first outside the hotel and then further down the road.

A passer-by broke up the fight and took Mr Fernandes to the docks, where he collapsed and died.

Mr Pitchilnaviram suffered a broken shoulder.

Speaking after the case, Det Insp Dave Dilly, of Hampshire police, said: "Mr Fernandes suffered heart failure brought on by the stress of the attack.

How somebody can kill in such a manner?

Floriano Fernandes, father

"He was having a drink and then a takeaway and there were lots of youths hanging around who had been drinking. Some part of that group chased him and his friend up the road and set upon him.

"A member of the public, Jody Miles, intervened and rescued Mr Fernandes, put him in his car and drove him to Fawley refinery. He then went back to help Mr Vinod.

"But within seconds of being dropped off at the front gate, Mr Fernandes dropped down dead from heart failure brought on by the attack.

"There was evidence that some of [the defendants], prior to setting eyes on Mr Fernandes, were saying they wanted to beat up a 'Paki' - that was the sort of language being used."

Floriano Fernandes and his son and grandaughter in Goa
Mr Fernandes' family are struggling to come to terms with his death

Nigel Pascoe QC, prosecuting, said the attack did not severely injure Mr Fernandes who suffered only a broken tooth, but the pleas indicated the "very serious responsibility" of the trio in the death of the sailor.

They had faced a murder charge, which they had denied, and the prosecution accepted the lesser count.

Floriano Fernandes, the sailor's father, told the BBC: "Now, since this has happened, we are now financially very run down - we have lost our breadwinner.

"Even I've been in England, so many places, but it wasn't like this before. I felt very safe, but now it seems to be very unsafe place, especially for Indians.

"To such a person like him it's unacceptable - he's so nice and he's not that kind of person. How somebody can kill in such a manner?"


Gregory Fernandes was the sole breadwinner in his family

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