Man jailed for for killing friend at a Dorset holiday park

Jailed: Jason James

A man has been jailed for four years for killing his friend with one punch at a Dorset holiday park.

Jason James, 41 and of Torquay, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court today, Friday 8 April, after pleading guilty to manslaughter at the same court on 15 March 2016.

The court heard that James and David Coxon were among a group of friends who were all members of the Cider Commandos Scooter Club in Newton Abbott in Devon.

On Friday 4 March 2016, the group attended the Modrapheniacs annual scooter rally at Sandford Holiday Park in Holton Heath and were due to stay in the same static caravan over the weekend.

When they arrived the group began drinking and socialising until the bar closed at 2am on Saturday 5 March.

As the group left they spotted David lying on the floor unconscious. They returned to put him in the recovery position.

The court heard James claimed that David had urinated on his leg and he had punched him once.

Paramedics attended but sadly David was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation was subsequently launched by Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT).

At 6.57am the same day James approached an officer on the cordon to ask after David and told the officer he had punched him knocking him out. James was arrested and was charged with manslaughter the following day.

The court heard that a post mortem examination established that the cause of death was a head injury likely to have been caused by one event.

Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Mark Samuel, of Dorset Police’s MCIT, said: “What should have been a happy weekend with friends ended tragically.

“All so often Dorset Police investigates avoidable acts of mindless violence and if James had paused to consider the consequences of his actions, David would still be alive today.

“The thoughts of David’s family written by his brother Jonnny speak for themselves. David was a well-liked friend and member of the scooter community. It is a tragic waste of life and our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.”

In a family statement, David’s brother Jonny said: “We wonder what kind of message is sent out by today’s sentence, about the consequences of abandoning self-control and unleashing a fatal knockout punch to the head of another person.

“We have recently been made aware of an interesting movement, headed by a world champion boxer, known very appropriately as the Coward’s Punch campaign.

“The message that it looks to drive home is the devastating damage that can be wrought by lashing out in this way, and pressure has been applied to change attitudes to sentencing to reflect a suitable deterrent.

“We can see very few circumstances where there would be sufficient provocation to justify this kind of cowardly attack.

“I cannot see how a short man reaching up to punch the head of a six feet five inch man could ever be described as an accident. I understand that one of the disciplines taught to boxers is to keep your fighting within the ring, and to be aware of the great harm that can be done without boxing gloves and without a padded canvas beneath you.

“Sadly, this failed boxer did not understand or agree with that and instead returned once again to the form of his previous convictions for assault.

“That David was killed by this man – someone he seemed to trust – will be a horrific tragedy that will cause us unbearable pain long after he is released from prison.”

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