A nightclub operator who pushed over a man who later died from injuries he suffered has been branded an ‘arrogant bully’ by a judge who jailed him today for four years.
Sentencing Peter Crotty, 33, of Nimbus Way, Newmarket, at Ipswich Crown Court. Judge David Goodin said his victim had been ‘amiable and inoffensive’ and shown no signs of aggression.
Judge Goodin said: “It was the act of an arrogant bully prepared to resort to force on a whim and for absolutely no reason whatsoever.”
The court heard that Crotty was caught by CCTV cameras ‘forcefully’ pushing Adrian Williams outside the town’s Aura nightclub on December 27 last year.
Mr Williams, a 51-year-old farm worker from Soham, fell backwards and struck his head on the pavement.
He suffered a fractured skull and brain damage and died 17 days later at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge where had had been on a life support system.
Initially Crotty was charged with murder but in March he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Shocked passers-by, including people on a coach which had pulled up nearby, had heard the sound of Mr Williams’ head striking the pavement, said Godfried Duah, prosecuting today.
CCTV images recovered by police showed Crotty emerging from Aura and then pushing Mr Williams in the chest, resulting in him falling backwards to the ground.
Mr Duah said: “All of a sudden he is seen to shove the victim with both hands. It is clear that the victim had no chance of defending himself at all.”
Following his arrest, Crotty claimed to police that Mr Williams had made a comment to him about an alleged debt and had been drunk. Crotty also claimed that Mr Williams had visited his house earlier the same day.
Mr Duah said that while Mr Williams had been refused admission to the club by door staff because he had been drinking, there was no truth in any claims that he was involved in any way with collecting debts.
As Mr Williams lay unconcious on the pavement, Crotty had immediately left the scene. Door staff and passers-by went to Mr Williams aid and called for an ambulance.
Mr Williams, who moved to the Newmarket area from his native Wales in search of work had been a ‘decent hard working man’, said Judge Goodin.
Andrew Shaw, appearing for Crotty, said his client had shown considerable remorse and written a letter to the family of Mr Williams, many of whom including his brother packed the public gallery for the hearing.
Mr Shaw said that Crotty’s military career had been cut short at the aged of 21
by injury and he had been medically discharged. He had then spent time working
in war zones helping to protect TV news film crews.
Crotty was now in touch with an organisation called Combat Stress which provides help for former military personnel with mental health issues, said Mr Shaw.
The incident in which Mr Williams was pushed over had been brief but had ‘plainly tragic and unintended consequences’, Mr Shaw told the court.
Sentencing Crotty, Judge Goodin said he accepted that the injuries suffered by Mr Williams had not been intentional but rejected claims made by Crotty that he had left the scene immediately afterwards because it was in accord with his military and civilian security training.
Judge Goodin told Crotty: “The death of Mr Williams at your hands has inevitably
devastated his parents and brother.”