A teenage thug has been sentenced to twelve years and three months imprisonment for a drunken attack on an engineer in Weston-super-mare that left him dead.
Eighteen-year-old Ryan Sheppard punched and kicked Mark Roberts, 35, to the ground whilst a girl of fifteen filmed the event on her iPhone.
Roberts, who was engaged to be married later this year, was walking home from a night out when he was approached by the intoxicated youths, who are reported to have drunk a large quantity of alcohol at one of the girls’ houses earlier that evening.
Sheppard, believed to have been high on both alcohol and cocaine at the time, asked Mr. Roberts for a cigarette. When told to ‘go home’, he proceeded to knock Roberts to the ground before launching into an aggressive assault, leaving Roberts unconscious in a pool of his own blood, having suffered a cardiac arrest.
Sheppard went on to boastingly show footage of the attack to his friends, whilst passersby went to the aid of Mr. Roberts, who tragically passed away later that evening in hospital.
Sentencing Sheppard to a minimum of twelve years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the murder, Judge Neil Ford, QC, summarised on the “failure of parents to control their offspring”.
Judge Ford said: “This is yet another case where those with parental responsibility fail to appreciate or care about the dis-inhibiting effects of alcohol, effects which in this case have been truly devastating”.
The judge went on to say: “I appreciate that it is not easy for parents to control the behaviour of teenagers. But this case yet again demonstrates the tragic consequences which can result from heavy consumption of alcohol by young people”.
Ryan Sheppard, with previous convictions for “possession of an offensive weapon”, and for “handling stolen goods”, and was out on licence at the time of the assault.
The teen suspect who filmed the beating was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges after a trial at Bristol Crown Court earlier this year.