A BURNLEY teenager has been sentenced to three years in jail at Preston Crown Court after being convicted of the manslaughter of Darren Atkinson.
Elliot Burns (17), who is originally from Burnley, admitted manslaughter in July.
His friend Luke Smith (18), of Marsden Road, Burnley, was found not guilty of manslaughter on the principle of joint enterprise following a four-day trial at Preston Crown Court.
At 8-30 p.m. on Friday, March 25th, ambulance and police were called to Standen Hall Drive, Briercliffe, to reports that a man had been found unconscious in a front garden.
Darren Atkinson, who was 48 and from Briercliffe, was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital with serious head injuries and was later transferred to the Royal Preston Hospital where he died on April 7th.
Mr Atkinson was accosted in the street and punched to the head with such power he was knocked over and his head hit paving stones in the front garden of a house with tragic consequences.
Det. Insp Mark Rothwell from the Force Major Investigation Team said: “This is a tragic case whereby Darren Atkinson was simply walking home when he was subjected to an unprovoked and vicious attack by Elliot Burns. This attack resulted in him being knocked to the floor and suffering fatal injuries as his head struck flagstones.
“Sadly this was another all too common incident whereby Mr Atkinson offered no violence whatsoever and a punch to his head caused him to fall backwards and suffer fatal injuries on contact with the floor.
“Our thoughts remain with Mr Atkinson’s family and no sentence will ever be enough for the pain they have suffered due to the recklessness of this teenager.
“I hope this case serves as a strong warning to those who choose to throw punches, regardless of whether you intend to cause death or serious injury, one punch can kill and if you commit unlawful violence you must face the consequences of your actions.”