Gang caged for vicious ‘mob-handed’ attack

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A GANG of men who carried out a ‘mob-handed attack’ which killed a former soldier have been jailed.

John Dean Richardson 44, of Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam, Bradley Jake Parkin, 22, of Mallard Mews, South Elmsall, Neil Brown, 29, also of Mallard Mews, and Liam Ackroyd, 22, of Bell Lane, Ackworth, were all found guilty of murdering Ian Mark Smith, 22, of Boycott Way, South Elmsall, in the early hours of February 19, in South Elmsall.

They were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Friday following a three-week trial.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, set the minimum terms that each must serve before being eligible to apply for parole.

John Simon Richardson, 23, of Kinsley House Crescent, Fitzwilliam, had already pleaded guilty to murder by using a pick axe handle to strike Mr Smith’s head several times.

Credit was given for his early plea and he was jailed for 16 years and 307 days.

Parkin received 17 years and 152 days. Brown was given 16 years and 364 days. Ackroyd was given 15 years and 364 days.

Richardson Senior was given 13 years and 124 days.

Judge Collier said: “This was a mob-handed attack upon a man who was unarmed.

“Furthermore it was committed at night in a public place where there were other people present, some of them young people, some of them were the friends of the victim and saw this terrible ending of his life.”

Judge Collier said all the men were responsible, having either kicked Mr Smith or encouraged the attack by being present.

He said: “Having rendered him senseless you all fled from the scene.”

During mitigation, Alistair MacDonald, QC, said Richardson Junior felt genuine remorse for what he had done and accepts it was a brutal attack, but said there was no premeditation involved.

Frances Oldham QC, for Parkin, said he had remorse for his actions but there was no intention to kill.

William Harbage QC, for Brown, said the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an earlier phone call from Richardson Senior for help with a separate incident.

Neil Davey QC, for Ackroyd, said there was no intent to kill.

Paul Greaney QC, for Richardson Senior, said there was a measure of provocation but it was not premeditated.