Life for Men Who Murdered Jonathan Fitchett

By on Monday, December 23, 2013

childs_priceA judge sentenced two men to life imprisonment for the murder of Prescot man Jonathan Fitchett last week.

Gerard Childs, of Rainhill, and Stephen Price, of Prescot, both 28, were found guilty on Thursday 19 December and sentenced on the Friday.

The pair had punched and kicked Mr Fitchett, 22, in front of shoppers at Cables Retail Park, Prescot, on Thursday 11 July. He died the following day from a brain haemorrhage.

‘A Tragic Case’

Mrs Justice Cox, passing sentence at Liverpool Crown Court, said it was a “tragic case,” devastating for Fitchett’s family.

She added that Childs and Price “must now live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives and … know only too well the grave consequences for themselves and their own families.”

The jury were unanimous in their guilty verdicts, although they had been allowed to consider manslaughter and affray. It is not known how much of Childs’ and Price’s version of events they accepted.

The judge, however, said she accepted Mr Fitchett had approached Mr Childs and started the argument outside JD Sports on the day of the fight, becoming “verbally abusive and threatening” towards Mr Childs.

They had long disliked each other, though neither side had gone to the retail park that day expecting a confrontation.

Childs responded violently, and his friend, Price, joined in to help him. Between them, they attacked Fitchett for 15 seconds, leaving him unconscious on the ground.

Their attack had caused a “rare and fatal injury.”

Attackers Remorseful, Says Judge

The judge said the murder was not premeditated, and she believed the pair had shown remorse.

Mrs Justice Cox gave Childs life, with a minimum of ten years’ imprisonment before being eligible for parole. Price received life, with at least eleven years before parole.

She told Childs she accepted his degree of culpability was lower. Evidence presented in the trial suggested he had learning difficulties and struggled to cope in stressful situations.

Violent Men Brought to Justice, Says CPS

Reflecting on the outcome, Gary Simpson, Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey-Cheshire, said: “Jonathan Fitchett was subjected to a deadly and sustained attack by Childs and Price in a busy shopping centre on a sunny summer’s day.

“It happened during an extremely busy part of the day with lots of shoppers and pedestrians around who were undoubtedly horrified by the assault.

“The prosecution successfully disproved Childs and Price’s claims that they were acting in self-defence.

“Several witnesses confirmed that they had seen the men punching and kicking Jonathan who was unable to defend himself.

“The hard work of the Crown Prosecution Service and Merseyside Police has brought these two violent men to justice. They are now behind bars and Jonathan’s family must struggle to come to terms with their loss. “

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