Two men have been jailed after killing a man during a street brawl arranged on WhatsApp to settle a feud over a woman.
Father of four Beau Robinson suffered fatal injuries after being knocked out with his knee in a fight outside his parents’ home in Wyndham Crescent, Burnham, Buckinghamshire on June 20 last year.
These were added by Martin Fleming, 20, and Daniel Hicks, 31, who were charged with murder following the Father’s Day attack.
They have now been jailed for a combined total of more than 12 years after a court accepted lesser charges of manslaughter and other offences.
Reading Crown Court was told today the fight came after Hicks, who used to play football for Slough Town FC, and Mr Robinson exchanged words about a woman.
Daniel Hicks, 31, arranged to meet Mr Robinson via WhatsApp after the pair developed a feud over a woman
A brawl was then arranged via WhatsApp, with Mr Robinson, 35, bringing a baseball bat.
Hicks admitted to kneeling Mr. Robinson in the stomach, resulting in injuries that caused his death.
Both defendants denied the murder charge and the pleas filed were found acceptable by prosecutors.
Hicks admitted manslaughter and possession of an offensive weapon – a kitchen knife – in connection with the brutal attack on Beau Robinson.
Fleming conceded one charge of violent disorder in connection with the attack last June.
James Lofthouse, prosecutor, said: “Hicks was seen on CCTV wildly beating Mr Robinson in the middle of the road.
“It was described by one neighbor as like a drunken bar fight – another described it as Mr Robinson being beaten up.
“When they got together, Hicks had a knife and put Mr. Robinson in a headlock and hit him repeatedly. Mr. Robinson walked the short distance to his address. His father could see that he was limping and his face was swollen.
“He called 999 and tried to comfort his son. He said “help me dad”.
“His father tried to reassure him that help was on the way, but he collapsed into his father’s arms.
“Despite the best efforts of the paramedics, they were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead.
“On June 22, police officers stopped a blue Vauxhall Corsa when one of the passengers lay down to avoid being seen.
“It was Hicks and he was arrested,” the prosecutor said.
“Fleming told his neighbor to take him to the police station. He kept saying it was best to turn yourself in. He allowed himself to be handcuffed at the station.”
He also told the courtroom that Hicks had nine prior convictions for 12 felonies, all of which related to violence. If convicted, a suspended sentence was imposed. Fleming previously had three independent minor offenses.
Hicks’ defense attorney Richard Wormald QC said: “He has expressed his genuine shock and disbelief at what happened. The cause of Mr. Robinson’s death was very unusual and the death was unintentional.’
An autopsy on Mr Robinson’s body found the cause of death was not the result of repeated beatings to the face, but rather a knee contact with his abdomen.
It was not thought to be a particularly powerful blow, but it did cause an internal tear and blood loss.
Martin Fleming, 20, admitted to one charge of violent disorder in connection with the attack in June last year
The defense attorney told the judge: “The mortician had expressed that this was an unusual finding and that it was deeply regrettable.
“To Hick’s discredit, he took a knife. To his credit, he threw away the knife. It wasn’t knocked out of his hand – he threw it.’
Defending Fleming, Graham Trembath QC said: “His involvement was volatile and his involvement was preliminary. He was 19 years old at the time of the offenses and has no history of violent crime.
It emerged that Fleming, who had previously been diagnosed with autism, entered the scuffle for a full two seconds – he was seen carrying a bottle by the neck to the scene, however CCTV footage showed the bottle was not used and it was not clear that he was even involved in the violence.
Judge Paul Dugdale convicted both men, saying: “Two men met very foolishly for unlawful violence. One has a baseball bat and one has a knife. Violence ensues and one is killed.
“If we were in the reverse position, Mr. Robinson would have been in the dock and we would be in exactly the same position. That’s why it’s such a tragedy.’
Hicks, of Lower Cippenham Lane, Slough, Berkshire, was sentenced to nine years and four months for manslaughter.
Possessing a knife penalty runs concurrently, and the suspended sentence has been activated and also runs concurrently.
He will serve two-thirds of that sentence in custody.
Fleming, of Bideford Spur, Slough, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He will spend half of that time in custody.
Lead Investigative Officer, Detective Inspector Sally Spencer, of Thames Valley Police Serious Crime Branch, said: “Today Daniel Hicks and Martin Fleming were held accountable for their role in the death of Beau Robinson which took place on Father’s Day last year and sentenced.
“They both left it until day one of the trial to make those requests and take responsibility for their actions, and Beau’s family endured many months of dread awaiting justice.”