A teenager has been jailed for three years after he was filmed taunting and then killing a man with a single punch.
Connor Stewart, 16, shadow-boxed Michael Rhodes, 47, as he showed off playing the ‘big man’ in front of a group of friends.
Mr Rhodes holds his hands up in defence before being punched by Stewart who left him with a fractured skull and bleeding onto the pavement.
Stewart can been seen running away from the scene outside a shop in Blackpool as Mr Rhodes lies dying on the floor.
Credit: Metro UK
Preston Crown Court was told that Stewart initially tried to claim that it was in self defence.
He showed little emotion as the footage, which was shared on social media soon after the incident in May, was played to the court.
He can now be named after a challenge by the press on reporting restrictions.
Wearing a black hooded top, Stewart sat staring at the floor as the court heard how Mr Rhodes was ‘baited and abused’ by youngsters after rowing with staff inside a corner shop.
Stewart, from Blackpool, wasn’t one of the youths abusing Mr Rhodes, but arrived in the street as it continued.
‘Perhaps the easiest way to describe the defendant’s actions is to say he was playing the big man in front of this group,’ Mr McEntee said.
‘We know the victim was a subject of fun because he was known to be a drug abuser. He was referred to there as a crackhead.
‘He was, though, not wholly intoxicated, and not steady on his feet. He was an easy target.’
Mr Rhodes suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.
He was taken to Royal Preston Hospital, where he remained in a critical condition for weeks before his death on Sunday, June 11, more than three weeks later.
In a statement read before the court, his mother Margaret said Mr Rhodes was a former plasterer and chef who had battled problems with drink and drugs.
She described her son ‘struggling to cling to life’, and doctors telling the family that, even if he did survive his ordeal, he would never have any real quality of life.
Defending, Julie Taylor said Stewart was a troubled youngster, she said he had been exposed to domestic violence growing up, before his mother and father separated when he was a young teenager.
‘The fact the video exists and was circulated on social media has nothing to do with the defendant. He was very distraught and he has been unable to watch it,’ she said.
His Honour Judge Mark Brown said Stewart would receive full credit for his early guilty plea, and that his age and troubled past would be taken into account.
He said: ‘This is obviously a very tragic case and I accept you did not intend to kill Mr Rhodes or do him really serious harm.
‘However, you were prepared to use force and did so showing off to your friends, and he died because of your violent conduct towards him.
‘Although he had issues with drugs and alcohol, he was not a violent person and would always shy away from conflict.’
Source: Metro UK