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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Teenagers cleared of fight death
Stephen Langford, courtesy of Thames Valley Police
Stephen Langford, 43, died after an argument outside a takeaway
Two men accused of murdering a father-of-two following an argument outside a takeaway have been acquitted.

James Diggens, 19, of Henley, Oxon, and Kes Ingoldsby, 18, of Caversham Park Village, Reading, had denied murdering Stephen Langford on 9 December 2006.

Mr Langford, 43, died after an argument outside a takeaway in Henley, in an incident which stunned the town.

The Inner London Crown Court had heard how Mr Langford was kicked and punched in the attack in Greys Road.

They [Mr Langford's family] are saddened that no-one has been held to account for the taking of Stephen's life
Det Insp Pete Dowling of Thames Valley Police

Mr Langford had been enjoying a night out with friends when he and another man, Gary Joynes, decided to visit the Southern Fried Chicken and Pizza Takeaway on the day he was attacked.

During the trial, the court heard that a young woman saw a group of young men surrounding Mr Langford.

Prosecutor Julian Baughan told the court "there were raised voices" and Mr Langford "was punched hard in the face".

He then fell backwards on to the ground.

An ambulance was called but attempts to revive Mr Langford were unsuccessful and he died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Mr Baughan added.

'A lovely man'

However, Mr Diggens and Mr Ingoldsby told the court Mr Langford had been aggressive to them and they had hit him in self-defence.

Mr Ingoldsby is the son of millionaire music producer Denis Ingoldsby, who launched the music careers of singers Louise Nurding and Dina Carroll.

A statement from Mr Langford's family's read: "Even with a conviction and sentence we would still be losers today.

"Remember, we lost Steve - a man of great presence, pride, honour, integrity, laughter.

"We've lost a caring, loving son, brother and father.

"Steve was suddenly and cruelly taken from us - leaving a huge vacuum for his family and friends.

"Steve was a lovely man."

'Sad' case

Shortly after Mr Langford's death, Henley MP Boris Johnson, who was a friend of Mr Langford's, called for an end to violence in the town.

He said in December 2006: "It's just a sickening, terrible thing to happen. He was a happy, fantastic guy."

Det Insp Pete Dowling, from Thames Valley Police's major crime unit, described the case as "sad".

He said: "My condolences and thoughts are with Stephen Langford's family at this difficult time."

Det Insp Dowling added: "They [the family] are saddened that no-one has been held to account for the taking of Stephen's life.

"We are satisfied that the evidence has been thoroughly examined and tested to assist the jury to reach their verdict."

Police spokesman regrets 'tragic' event

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08 May 07 |  Oxfordshire

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