Great Britain

Sisters of Bradford one-punch victim say attacker's sentence 'a joke'

THE SISTERS of a Bradford partygoer who died three years after being fatally injured by a single punch thrown by a 16-year-old have welcomed his jailing for manslaughter.

But Andrea Milne and Dawn Gilroy have branded the 12-month sentence for Landon Carl Smith - only six of which he will spend in prison - as "a joke".

Their brother Craig Kaye died in September 2017 after being left with a fractured skull and brain damage in the attack by Smith just after midnight on September 1, 2014.

Craig, of Great Horton Road, Bradford, was walking home from a party when he was assaulted in Hollybank Road, Great Horton.

Smith, now 22, of Hillam Street, Great Horton, was sentenced to a two-year youth rehabilitation order with an activity requirement and a three-month curfew order in a trial in June 2015 after admitting unlawful wounding.

But Craig's passing prompted prosecutors to charge Smith with manslaughter to which he pleaded guilty in May and he was sentenced nearly six years after the assault yesterday.

In that time Andrea and Dawn have also seen their mother Jean die of cancer just months after Craig, a fate they say was also ultimately caused by the fatal blow.

After the sentencing hearing by Judge Andrew Stubbs in Leeds Crown Court they said the result was what their mum would have wanted but that the attack had left Craig's family "living a life sentence".

Andrea said: "The sentence was a bit of a joke. But it's a sentence mum wanted and today he has been held to account for his actions.

"Mum would be thankful.

"I hope now we get the chance to grieve, we've been waiting in limbo.

"There's no winner in this because regardless of the outcome it wouldn't bring Craig or mum back. It's good to be able to draw a line under it.

"I am disappointed by the shortness of the sentence. He has served nothing to be fair. Six months is offensive.

"We have to try and move past it now."

Dawn added: "We're living a life sentence. It's just a sham.

"We have got to live without our Craig and our mum. It killed our mum too."

The sisters said they would like to thank West Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their work on the case and the T&A for its coverage.

They had special mention for their Auntie Lynne "for everything that she's done throughout all this and seen it through to the end" and for "anybody who had cared for Craig in the three years when he was disabled".

In sentencing Smith, Mr Justice Stubbs told him that he had inflicted a catastrophic brain injury after he, his father and another man had gone out looking for Craig because of how they believed the victim had treated his stepson earlier.

He said: "You punched and kicked him. You punched him to the face, knocking him to the ground and leaving him completely unconscious.

"You have been sentenced for your conduct already but not for its ultimate consequences."

He said that there was no truth to Smith's assertion that Craig had acted aggressively and agreed with the 2015 trial judge that he ran back and punched him hard to the face with no warning.

He said Craig died in September 2017 after blood clots blocked blood vessels in his lungs while he was having breakfast but he said the head injuries he received in the attack were a significant factor in his death.

Mr Justice Stubbs concluded: "To mark the death of Craig Kaye and punish your actions, the appropriate punishment is an immediate custodial sentence."

He had to reduce the sentence because of Smith's age at the time and previous good character, the fact that he had been sentenced and punished for the attack already, that this case followed on after a delay of years, he was of no risk to the general public and his guilty plea.

Half the 12-month sentence will be served in custody and half on licence in the community.

Following the sentencing Detective Superintendent Nicola Bryar, said: “I hope this outcome is of some comfort to the family of Mr Kaye and finally gives them some closure, so they can move forward from this tragic incident.

“I also hope this case will serve as a warning to others of the devastating effects that just one punch can have.”

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