Man faces jail after killing brother-in-law in drunken street rammy
A married father who accepted unlawfully killing his 'best friend' and brother-in-law has been cleared of his murder.
Martin Casey, 30, earlier admitted to the manslaughter of Billy Harty, 28, who died following a drunken and drug-fuelled street rammy.
The prosecution took Casey to trial, alleging that the incident was murder, Leicestershire Live reports.
However, after deliberating for almost four hours, a Leicester Crown Court jury acquitted him of the more serious charge on May 12.
Mr Harty was married to Casey's sister and the two men were described as close friends since childhood.
They were also workmates, who were setting up a roofing and gardening business together.
The court heard that after an all-night drinking session, when cocaine was consumed, the pair fell out and began fighting outside Harty's home in Bedale Drive, Mowmacre, Leicester, in the early hours of Monday, October 24. They began grappling before both fell to the ground, where Casey punched him repeatedly.
Mr Harty suffered a fatal heart attack after Casey left him lying in the road, with numerous facial injuries, at about 5am. The prosecution alleged that Casey, of Golf Course Lane, off Hinckley Road, Braunstone, struck Mr Harty with a wheelie bin three times, as he lay defenceless on the ground, to cause further injury.
Casey, a father-of-three, denied using a bin as a weapon, insisting he had simply picked it up to flip rubbish on top of Mr Harty, because he was annoyed the victim had fiercely bitten his left ear, that was left bloodied and bruised. He said at no time did the wheelie bin ever make contact with his good friend, who he claimed was conscious when he left the scene.
Officers who arrived in Bedale Drive at 5.15am found Mr Harty unconscious and unresponsive. They commenced CPR before an ambulance arrived, but Mr Harty died in hospital a short time later.
After being told of the death, Casey handed himself into the police, telling officers they had both been in a fight, but gave "no comment" interviews. When he gave evidence in court he said he never intended to seriously injure his brother-in-law.
He told the jury he had "no idea" how badly hurt the victim was when he left or that his life might be at risk. Casey said Mr Harty's death had "devastated" both of their families.
Judge Timothy Spencer QC adjourned sentencing until Monday. Remanding Casey back into custody, he said: "I don't want you to be under any illusions.
"You caused the death of your brother-in-law, a man who was probably your best friend. That was a criminal act and it will no doubt stay with you forever - and it means I will have to send you to prison on Monday.
"You're clearly in a much better position, having been acquitted of murder, but you're still in a serious position (having admitted manslaughter)."
Afterwards, the senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Jenni Heggs, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit Murder Investigation Unit said: “There are certainly no winners in this case. A family have lost a loved one and a young man now faces a considerable time behind bars for his actions.
“William’s (Billy Harty's) family and friends have shown immense courage and dignity throughout the investigation and legal proceedings. Because of the family connections this was in no way easy for them.
“Yet again, this case demonstrates the consequences of violent behaviour which has resulted in a life being lost. Hopefully the time Casey will now serve in prison will give him an opportunity to consider his actions and the impact not only on him but his family too.”
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