Childs & Price Cleared of Fitchett Murder after Appeal

By on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

london_court_of_appeal_justiceTwo men convicted of the murder of Prescot man Jonathan Fitchett have been cleared by the Court of Appeal.

Jonathan Fitchett died on Friday 12 July 2013, a day after being assaulted outside JD Sports at Cables Retail Park in Prescot.

In December 2013, a jury at Liverpool Crown Court found Gerard Childs, 29, of Rainhill, and Stephen Price, 30, of Prescot, guilty of murder, rejecting alternative verdicts of manslaughter and affray.

According to judge Mrs Justice Cox, who gave them life sentences, Fitchett approached Mr Childs and was “verbally abusive and threatening.” Childs responded with violence, and his friend, Price, ran to his aid, in a fight that lasted 20 seconds.

Mr Fitchett fell to the floor and never regained consciousness.

In July 2014, however, the pair were granted appeal on the grounds that there was no proof which of the two men had landed the fatal blow.

They had been convicted on the controversial principle that the killing was a “joint enterprise,” for which they were equally guilty, even if only one was directly responsible for the punch that killed him.

At a hearing at the Court of Criminal Appeal in London today (Wednesday 25 February), three judges overthrew the murder verdict and found Childs guilty of manslaughter, and Price guilty of affray.

Childs was re-sentenced to seven years, while Price received two-and-a-half.

Summing up, Lord Justice Davis said that what Childs and Price “might at least care to bear in mind, and will no doubt think of for the rest of their lives, is that they were involved in an incident in which – one way or another – Jonathan Fitchett came to die.”

Jonathan Fitchett, a former student of St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Secondary School, was 22 when he died.

Image: Court of Appeal (Anthony M)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *