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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Andrew Bardsley

"I have no doubt you will regret what you did that night for the rest of your life..." - The moment drunken thug 'lost it' and killed beloved dad

A beloved dad was killed when a thug 'lost it' as a drunken row spilled onto the street. Jamie Kennedy, 24, punched Robert Payne in the head after the pair had argued and Kennedy had been told to leave.

Despite Mr Payne being knocked unconscious after banging his head on the pavement, Kennedy continued punching him, landing three or four more blows. Mr Payne, 60, known to friends as Bob, died three days later after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard that the pair had been drinking together at Mr Payne's home in Oldham, before an argument broke out. Kennedy, who was acquitted of murder but admitted manslaughter, has now been sentenced to four years and eight months in jail.

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"This is clearly more than just a one punch manslaughter," Judge Suzanne Goddard QC told Kennedy. "As he was lying prone on the floor, you carried on."

But she accepted that Kennedy was 'genuinely remorseful' for his actions. "I have no doubt you will regret what you did that night for the rest of your life."

Amanda Hilton, Mr Payne's partner of 18 years, paid tribute to her 'best friend'. The couple enjoyed gardening and walking the dog together.

"She kept him on the straight and narrow, as she puts it, and kept her sane," prosecutor Francis McEntee said. Reporting her statement, the prosecutor added: "Mr Kennedy didn't just end Bob's life that day, he took her life away as well."

Police and crime scene investigators in Derker (KBP)

"She finds it hard to imagine life without Mr Payne." The judge added: "No sentence I can pass can ever recompense the loss of a beloved partner and father." Prosecutors told how Kennedy's brother Christopher was a regular visitor to Mr Payne's home in Derker, Oldham, with Jamie also attending but less frequently than his sibling.

The brothers, who called Mr Payne 'Uncle Bob', arrived with two women on morning of October 15 last year, where they started drinking brandy and vodka together. An argument developed which later turned violent. Jamie Kennedy claimed that he fell asleep and woke up to find Mr Payne's hands around his throat, but this was denied by a witness.

The judge said Mr Payne may have 'forcibly ejected' Kennedy, following him to the front gate of his home. Kennedy admitted he 'lost it' and then punched Mr Payne to the face.

Mr Payne fell backwards and banged his head on the pavement. A pathologist said this was the cause of his death.

But the three or four blows landed by Kennedy as Mr Payne lay on the floor could have exacerbated his condition, the court heard. Mr Payne was rushed to hospital and died three days later.

Tactical aid unit officers were also at the scene (KBP)

The judge said testimonials submitted on Kennedy's behalf spoke of a 'very different person'. "If I could turn back time, I would," Kennedy said, in a statement read by his barrister Peter Wright QC.

"I am sorry to all his (Mr Payne's) friends and family, but I know sorry won't cut it." Mr Wright said Kennedy admitted losing his temper before killing Mr Payne.

"That is a matter for which he is deeply ashamed and deeply remorseful," the QC said. He described Kennedy as otherwise being 'hard working' and 'conscientious'.

Kennedy, of Garden Terrace, Royton, will serve half of his sentence in prison. After the hearing, Lauren Costello, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for North West CPS, said: “Robert Payne tragically lost his life after he was punched to the floor by Jamie Kennedy.

"He continued this brutal attack with multiple punches whilst Robert was unconscious on the floor. Though nothing can make up for the loss of Robert, I hope his loved ones can take some comfort in knowing that Jamie Kennedy has been brought to justice for his violent actions.

"Our thoughts are with them at this time. The CPS is committed to securing justice for those who partake in such needless violence."

Senior Investigating Officer Phil Reade from GMP’s Major Incident Support Unit, said: "This was a devastating case where an argument fuelled through alcohol got out of hand and a man lost his life. Bob was knocked unconscious after one punch but Kennedy callously continued to assault him, causing him to suffer critical injuries that sadly resulted in his death some three days later.

"I hope today’s sentence sends a message that violence is never acceptable and gives Kennedy the time he needs to reflect on how his needless actions lead to someone losing their life."


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