Great Britain

Biker, 21, killed ‘peacemaker’, 41, who asked him to stop driving dangerously with a single punch


A RAGING biker killed a "peacemaker" who asked him to stop riding dangerously with a single punch.

James Rowley attacked 41-year-old Joe Higgins in front of horrified children after getting a ticking off for noisily "showing off" on his off-road bike.

The 21-year-old landed one punch on care sector manager Joe, who had three stepchildren, before fleeing the scene.

Joe was rushed to hospital with a head injury but died the next day after the attack in Coventry on March 17.

Thug Rowley was arrested two days later and initially tried claiming he only hit Joe in self-defence.

But he later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and dangerous driving and has now been caged for nine years.

Warwick Crown Court heard how dad-of-two Rowley had no licence and no insurance when he tore through a red light on the wrong side of the road.

He then began riding on grassland with no lights on - causing Joe to "politely" ask him to stop.

But the yob refused to listen to the "good citizen" and asked him if "he wanted to get battered" as he revved his engine.

Rowley then got off the bike and was described as "bouncing on his toes like a boxer" as he lashed out at Joe - causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said: "Joe Higgins had his hands down. One witness described it as the most vicious punch he had ever seen.

"The punch caused him to fall to the ground and hit his head, whereupon you rode off dangerously and at speed, taking, as you went, his hat."

In an emotional victim impact statement, Joe's twin brother Chris described him as a "true gentleman" who was "kind, caring and fun".

He added: "At 41 he had his whole life ahead of him," Mr Higgins said of his sibling.

"The happy future that Joe had planned has been cruelly taken away from him."

Rowley had previously been given a referral order as a teenager for an assault in which his victim lost consciousness.

He has been banned from driving for two years upon his release from prison.

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