One-punch killer drove off and bought lager as man lay dying in street

A man has been jailed for six years for killing a businessman by punching him once outside a pub.

Samuel Thorpe was jailed for six years for manslaughter
Samuel Thorpe was jailed for six years for manslaughter

Adam Lovatt, 45, was attacked by Samuel Thorpe in Audlem in the early hours of May 25, 2018.

Thorpe and co-defendant Nicholas Hill drove from the Cheshire village to Market Drayton and bought lager in the aftermath of the incident.

Thorpe, 26, of Annions Lane, Wybunbury, was found guilty of manslaughter following a 10-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Co-defendant Hill was found not guilty of manslaughter, but had admitted a charge of assisting an offender at an earlier hearing.

Thorpe has been jailed for six years, while Hill, 38, of Moorsfield Avenue, Audlem, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, along with a 12-month supervision order.

The incident happened outside the Bridge Inn on Shropshire Street in Audlem.

Mr Lovatt had been out with his wife celebrating his birthday.

He had decided to remain out later in the evening and was targeted by Thorpe after an incident at the Shroppie Fly, where another man tried to assault him

Mr Lovatt left the pub after the incident but was followed by Thorpe and Hill.

Nicholas Hill was jailed for 12 months after being cleared of manslaughter

Thorpe confronted Mr Lovatt outside the Bridge Inn, punching him once in the face.

He fell backwards, striking his head on the ground suffering two skull fractures and a large bleed on the brain. He died later that day.

Thorpe and Hill drove away from the scene to Market Drayton in a bid to evade police, buying lager before they went back to Hill’s house.

The following day Thorpe, knowing that the police may be looking for him, threw his phone away and left the area to stay in a guest house in North Wales overnight, only returning when police attended at his parents' address in order to arrest him.

Detectives from Cheshire Constabulary’s Major Investigation Team launched an investigation following Mr Lovatt’s death and the pair were arrested two days later.

Detective Inspector Adam Waller, who led the investigation into the death, said: “Adam’s life was tragically cut short with just one punch. It’s a stark reminder to people that that the decision to strike out at someone in anger could change lives instantly.

"Adam's family are grieving and trying to come to terms with life without a loved one and other families will have to come to terms with their loved ones having been convicted and facing the prospect of time behind bars – all because of one punch on a night out.

"Adam was callously left lying fatally injured in the road until a passing motorist summonsed professional medical help.

"Neither Thorpe or Hill made any attempts to look after anyone else but themselves in making their escape and attempting to cover their tracks.

"The attempts to besmirch Adam’s character throughout the trial have been distressing for Adam’s family to have had to bear witness to, and thankfully have had no bearing on the outcome.”

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