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Telford bouncer jailed for killer punch as victim dies four years later

By Deborah Hardiman | Wellington | Crime | Published:

A former pub doorman has been jailed for two years for the manslaughter of a drinker he knocked over with a punch.

Neil Hotchkiss was originally locked up for 16 months

Neil Hotchkiss, 37, of Telford, previously served a 16-month sentence for assaulting victim Scott Taylor during a confrontation outside the Station Hotel in Wellington in August 2012.

As a result of the single blow, Mr Taylor, of Monkmoor, Shrewsbury, fell backwards and his head hit the ground causing a life-changing skull fracture.

He suffered a stroke, had epilepsy, was paralysed and relied on carers round the clock up until his death on April 30, 2016, aged 44.

The cause of death was aspiration pneumonia and the head injury sustained in 2012.

Robert Price, prosecuting, said: “Mr Taylor suffered grave and life-changing injuries and died from complications because of those injuries.”

He told the hearing held at Stoke on Trent Crown Court that on the night, Mr Taylor was inside and the defendant was supervising the front door.

Mr Price said: “At about 9pm Mr Taylor walked towards the front door with a pint of beer which he wanted to take outside to drink.

"Mr Hotchkiss challenged him about that and told him he wasn’t allowed to take the pint outside.

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"Mr Taylor asked why and was given the reason. He went back inside.

“As he went back inside, Mr Taylor started to swear at the bouncers. At that point Hotchkiss and a colleague decided to eject him.

"They told him he had a bad attitude and that he should go to another pub or go home.

“Mr Taylor may have been upset but was not being aggressive.

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"What happened next was captured on CCTV. It shows both men clearly exchanging words.

"There comes a stage when Mr Taylor goes towards Hotchkiss. If contact was made it was only light.

"The defendant reacts by punching Mr Taylor to the face. He falls backwards heavily and his head contacts heavily with the ground.”

Following his death, Hotchkiss, of Stone Row, Malinslee, was charged with manslaughter, which he admitted.

Martin Lidyard, for Hotchkiss, said the defendant accepted that he was likely to return to jail.

“We would like to make it quite clear to the court and to perhaps to Mr Taylor’s family that there was never any intention not to accept responsibility,” Mr Lidyard said.

"In the last few years he has done some plastering work, he has a big family and has by and large kept out of trouble."

Hotchkiss must serve half of his two-year sentence before being released on licence.

Judge Paul Glenn said: “This is a tragic case. The illness sustained by Mr Taylor was both life-changing and devastating and was so serious that he could not live independently. All that was a result of your actions."

Paul Reid, District Crown Prosecutor with West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr Taylor.”

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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