Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Teacher jailed for manslaughter

Kenneth Bassarath
Bassarath said he thought his son-in-law was unstable

A primary school teacher who struck his son-in-law with a cricket bat as he tried to defend his daughter has been jailed for manslaughter.

Kenneth Bassarath responded to a call from daughter Celosia as she cowered in a bedroom, the Old Bailey heard.

He hit her husband Sergio Mendes, 32, causing brain injuries from which he died three days later on 22 March.

Bassarath, 64, of Hackney, east London, was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 30 months.

It is clear that you were much affected by what you felt concerning your daughter - and with justification
Judge Gerald Gordon

He was called by his daughter who had fled from her husband in fear and had locked herself in a room with her two young sons after the violent row had begun.

She said her husband had tried to pull her down the stairs as she had fled from him.

The court heard he ranted and swore and banged at the door of the bedroom she had locked herself in.

Jurors heard Bassarath believed his son-in-law was "unstable". When he arrived outside the property in Hackney he wrenched the bat from Mendes's hand.

After knocking Mr Mendes to the ground, Bassarath stood above him and was heard by a neighbour to say: "He's beaten my daughter. Call the police."

'Devoted' man

But when officers arrived it was he who was arrested.

Judge Gerald Gordon agreed Bassarath was of "impeccable character", but dismissed a call by David Fisher QC, defending, that Bassarath should be given a suspended sentence.

Mr Fisher said: "He has devoted his life to his family, to the teaching profession and to the church.

"What actual benefit is there going to be to anybody in this case in sentencing him to a lengthy sentence of imprisonment?"

But the judge said he had to take into account the fact Mr Mendes's parents had lost a son and that his children had lost a father as a result of what had happened.

He added: "It is clear that you were much affected by what you felt concerning your daughter - and with justification."

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