Clipstone man jailed for single-punch manslaughter

A Clipstone man has been jailed for eight years for killing a man with a single-punch outside a seaside pizza parlour.

Christopher Coakley, aged 28, of Palace Gardens, Clipstone, denied murdering 47-year-old Whitby man Anthony Welford but admitted manslaughter on the basis that there was no intent to kill.

Porto Pizza

Porto Pizza

Leeds Crown Court heard that Mr Welford, a father-of-three, was knocked to the ground and hit his head on the pavement following a blow from Coakley, who was drunk and causing trouble inside the takeaway in Windsor Terrace, Whitby.

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Prosecutor Katherine Robinson said Mr Welford, who was with friends, was acting as peacemaker and trying to calm Coakley down just moments before the incident in the early hours of February 24.

But Coakley turned on Mr Welford and punched him in the face in the doorway of Porto Pizza. Mr Welford was knocked unconscious after banging his head and was bleeding profusely.

An ambulance was called and Mr Welford was taken to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, where scans revealed a fractured skull. His condition deteriorated and he developed brain damage and pneumonia. He died three days later of a blood clot and multiple organ failure.

Christopher Coakley

Christopher Coakley

Coakley was arrested at a guest house in Whitby where he was staying with his girlfriend for a short break. He claimed self-defence but judge Guy Kearl QC, the Recorder of Leeds, rubbished this claim.

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The court heard that Coakley had previous convictions for violence and in December 2017 received a suspended prison sentence for battery and assaulting a police officer.

Coakley’s barrister Richard Littler QC said Coakley, a father-of-one who works as a plasterer, had alcohol problems.

Mr Kearl said the attack was premeditated and that he had noted Coakley’s predisposition for violence.

Coakley was jailed for eight years but will be released into the community halfway through that sentence.