Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Binge-drinking killer sentenced

Joseph Thomas
Joseph Thomas had been out drinking with the boy Mr Baty tried to help

A teenager has been sentenced to eight years in a young offenders' institution for killing a man who tried to give medical help to his drunken friend.

Nicholas Baty was repeatedly kicked by Joseph Thomas, 18, outside a gym in Brackla, Bridgend, south Wales.

The judge told him it was "entirely unnecessary and pointless - brought about by binge-drinking violence".

Thomas was convicted of manslaughter at Cardiff Crown Court. He was given two additional years for a separate attack.

This was an unconnected assault on another teenager, two months before.

It emerged today that two police officers have been disciplined after a police watchdog investigation found they failed to deal properly with the earlier crime.

Sentencing Thomas, from Bridgend, to a total of 10 years for the two offences, Judge John Curran added: "No sentence could ever put right the lasting feeling of devastation and loss."

Father-of-one Mr Baty was returning from a funeral when he stopped to help the boy, who had collapsed after drinking too much outside the Physique gym on 4 January this year.

Nick Baty
How can we express our feelings at losing our beloved Nicholas in such an unnecessary act of violence?
John and Mary Baty, parents

The court heard how Thomas, who was 17 at the time of the attack, had previously been drinking with the boy and threw Mr Baty to the ground and repeatedly stamped on his head.

He died a month after the attack after slipping into a coma.

Following the sentencing, Mr Baty's elderly parents described the difficulty of losing him in such a way.

Speaking on their family's behalf, John and Mary Baty, who are in their 80s, said: "How can we express our feelings at losing our beloved Nicholas in such an unnecessary act of violence?

"Nicholas was a loving son, proud father of his beautiful daughter Katy, and a fantastic brother to Simon and Joss.

"He had a very large circle of friends and was well-known and respected throughout the golfing and surfing communities in South Wales and beyond.

"He is sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

'Every parent's nightmare'

"The fact that over 500 people attended his funeral speaks volumes for how well thought of he was.

"We are in our 80s now and find ourselves living what can only be every parent's nightmare.

"Nicholas was always just a phone call away and would always do odd jobs for us around the house.

"He would regularly walk his dogs on the beach at Southerndown."

They said Mr Baty had undertaken first aid training while living in France and had believed he should help people who were in need of assistance.

They thanked friends, relatives and neighbours for support, adding: "We would also like to thank Nicholas' colleagues at the Western Mail and also the officers from South Wales Police who have guided and supported us through this very difficult time."

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