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June 16, 2003

Three teenagers killed deaf man

From: BBC News, UK - Jun 16, 2003

Three teenagers have been sent to young offenders' institutes for beating a young deaf man to death as he walked home from a pub.

Mark Burgess, 19, from Yorkley in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, died on Boxing Day last year following the unprovoked attack.

Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Burgess had spent the evening with workmates at the Royal Oak pub in Whitecroft, near Lydney, but was set upon as he made his way home alone.

Samantha Reynolds, 18, Lana Campbell, 17, and Shaun O'Donnell, 19, were sent down for a total of nine-and-a-half years on Monday after they admitted his manslaughter.

Multiple injuries

The court was told the trio had been in the pub at the same time as Mr Burgess, and that Reynolds had been heard threatening him.

On their way home the three teenagers saw Mr Burgess - who wore a hearing aid in each ear - and attacked him with punches and kicks leaving him with multiple injuries.

He later died from his injuries in Bristol's Frenchay Hospital.

Reynolds, from Lydney, was sent to a young offenders' institute for three-and-a-half years.

Campbell, also from Lydney, and O'Donnell, from Yorkley, were both sentenced to three years in a young offenders' institute.

'Not aggressive'

Neil Ford QC, prosecuting, said there was "ill-feeling" towards Mr Burgess from Reynolds and her brother Paul after he had been tried and acquitted for an assault on one of the dead man's friends.

Witnesses said Samantha Reynolds had been "winding people up" in the pub while Mr Burgess was "happy and not aggressive".

Reynolds also admitted stealing Mr Burgess's wallet and mobile phone.

Reynolds' mother, Jane, was given a community punishment order for perverting the cause of justice by cleaning blood off and trying to burn Campbell and Reynolds' trainers.

Another woman, Zoe Chilcott, 26, was also given a community punishment order for the same charge.

Phone stolen

Adam Hawkins, a friend of the trio, admitted perverting the cause of justice by disposing of the stolen mobile phone and wallet.

Paul Reynolds pleaded guilty to perverting the cause of justice for helping to hide the wallet.

Hawkins was given a community punishment order and Paul Reynolds sentenced to four months in prison.

Sentencing, Judge Tom Crowther QC, said: "The incident that brings you all before me is a sad commentary on the social situation that exists in a segment of the community in and around the town of Lydney."

He told the three guilty of manslaughter: "You left a man unconscious or semi-conscious, inert on the ground and went off on your various ways."