A cocaine-fuelled Newcastle man who punched and killed a father at random on a night out in Manchester city centre has been jailed for seven years.
Kevin Wood, described by his wife who had been with him for 38 years as her ‘soul mate, best friend and hard-working’, was punched by Callum Crosbie, 23, of Colebridge Close, Newcastle, outside the Printworks on Dantzic Street in the city centre last year.
Kevin was in the city centre on 20 November to celebrate his wife Debbie’s birthday, and went towards the Printworks for a birthday meal when he was attacked by Crosbie, while trying to speak to security personnel. Police said the one-punch attack was completely unprovoked.
A court later heard that Crosbie and his friends had been thrown out of O’Neills bar by security staff for refusing to move from a table and quickly became violent towards staff, who had formed a line across the entrance of Printworks to prevent them re-entering.
Crosbie was seen kicking and hitting security staff before punching Kevin in the face, knocking him over. Despite efforts from paramedics and security staff, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Kevin Doherty and Alan Foster, both from Newcastle, were also involved in the disorder and pleaded guilty to affray - and were sentenced today to four months.
‘He was my best friend’
Kevin’s wife, Debbie, is still reliving the events of the evening and is urging people to think twice about punching and assaulting one another.
She said: “Kevin was a hard-working man, he gave us absolutely everything we ever wanted. He had a fantastic sense of humour and he’d have you in stitches laughing. He was my soul mate, my best friend and my husband.
“We’ll never get over it – our lives will never be the same. It’s absolutely crazy that one punch can do so much damage to a person and a family.
“It was like it was yesterday, I wake up every day thinking I’m dreaming and expecting Kevin to come in. It’s been absolutely heart-breaking for all of us as a family and no doubt for Crosbie’s family too.”
She added: “To think you can just go for a night out and a meal on your birthday and something like this can happen and only one of you can come home. I’d say to anyone thinking about punching or assaulting someone not to do it. You don’t realise what you can do to someone and their family, and your own family as well.
“When people go out and they’re full of drugs and alcohol, they think they’re invisible and don’t have a clue about what they’re going to do. I’ve now got a daughter who hasn’t got a dad, and all of the milestones in her life she would have shared with her dad she’ll now miss out on. He’ll never be able to watch her down the aisle. It’s heart-wrenching.
“These kind of assaults have got to stop.”
Kevin, who had recently recovered from prostate cancer not long before the incident occurred, had worked most of the day on the fatal night to fix a leak on his and Debbie’s house. After finishing late, he’d suggested changing plans and going to Middleton instead that evening, before they decided to stay with their plans in Manchester instead. It’s this that Debbie still finds it difficult to cope with today.
She added: “To this day, I regret not staying in Middleton and I wish I stayed there as he might still be here with us now.
“He was a loving husband, best friend and soul mate. He was a dad to not only his daughter, but a stepdad, grandad, brother and uncle and we’re all still devastated.”
What happened at court?
Crosbie was sentenced today (10 June) to seven years in jail at Manchester Crown Court.
GMP Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Mark Davis, from MIT, said: “This was an absolutely tragic incident that has left a family absolutely devastated because one fatal punch by Crosbie and our thoughts remain with Debbie and Kevin’s family who are still coming to terms with what happened that night every single day.
“The security staff were simply doing their job and Kevin was a passer-by who lost his life in the most devastating way that night. This is a reminder that one simple punch can result in someone getting killed and I would urge everyone to really think twice.
“You never know what’s going to happen and Kevin is just one of many victims over the years who have sadly died as a result.
“Crosbie now time behind bars, away from his own family, to think about his actions and no doubt regret them every single day. He’s left not only Kevin’s family heartbroken and at a loss, but no doubt his own too.”