CCTV shows serial criminal kill friend in one-punch attack
A serial criminal who killed a friend in a brutal one-punch attack while out of prison on licence has been put back behind bars.
Thomas Brand, 45, caused deadly skull fractures along with bleeding and swelling on the brain when he sent Anthony Richardson crashing to the groundwith the single, forceful blow outside a pub in Newcastle on February 7.
Shortly before the fatal attack, Mr Richardson, 46, had been knocked out, during a confrontation inside the bar, with another, powerful single blow by Nathan Aldus, 29.
Mr Richardson died as a result of the injuries caused by Brand, from Sunderland, who claimed he had acted in self defence but was convicted of manslaughter by a jury.
Brand has a long criminal record which includes offences of violence and he was previously given a 12 year sentence for conspiracy to murder after he actedas a "spotter" for a gunman.
Aldus, 29, of Shelley Avenue, South Shields, admitted assault.
He was also out of prison on licence at the time of the attack, which he said was "excessive self defence" and has previous convictions including robbery,public disorder and harassment.
Aldus faces sentence at Durham Crown Court next month for taking drugs and phones into prison.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the men, who all knew each other and were all living in hostels in Newcastle at the time of the killing had been drinking inthe city in the hours before the violence at the Chesterfield pub on Elswick Road on February 7.
Mr Justice Morris sentenced Brand to six years imprisonment and Aldus to 27 weeks imprisonment.
The judge said: "In the course of a few minutes Anthony Richardson was punched by two men.
"First, inside the pub, Nathan Aldus punched him so hard he was rendered unconscious for a short time.
"Secondly, a few moments later, outside the pub, Thomas Brand punched him with such force he fell to the ground.
"The force of this punch, combined with the impact of the hard ground, caused a serious head injury to Anthony Richardson.
"Though he received medical treatment at the scene and later in hospital, Anthony Richardson never recovered consciousness.
"His death was confirmed the following morning."
The judge said Brand, who has over 160 previous convictions, had stayed at the scene in a bid to help after he inflicted the fatal injury and was visiblydistressed on CCTV footage while making "genuine and compassionate attempts" to assist.
But the judge said the attack was an "unwarranted act of violence with tragic consequences".
In victim impact statement, Mr Richardson’s mum Rhona Richardson said she has been left devastated by the death of her son and that a decision to donatehis organs has meant his loss has not been a "complete waste".
She added: "No-one knows the way I feel. Until you lose your own child it is impossible to put into words or describe to others."
Dad Brian said his son’s killing was a "tragic loss of life" and called for deterrent sentences to try and stop future attacks.
Robert Woodcock QC, defending Brand, said the killer was a friend of Mr Richardson and his death “was not part of a war nor has it started a war”.
Mr Woodcock said Brand, who does "have a past with which to be ashamed" had no specific intention when he threw the punch, which was "spur of the moment".
Christopher Knox, defending Aldus, said the assault, which was not linked to Mr Richardson’s death, was not premeditated.
Mr Knox said Aldus had had a "pretty bad day" and had "nothing against" Mr Richardson.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Ed Small, said after the verdict earlier this month that the case showed the "devastating consequences" of a one-punch attack.
He said: "This was a tragic and senseless incident which resulted in Anthony’s death and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this incredibly difficult time.
"Anthony’s family are still devastated by what has happened but have shown incredible courage and strength throughout these court proceedings.
"Throwing a single punch can have devastating consequences, cause life-changing injuries and even kill someone. Whether you throw it in self-defence ornot, just one moment of aggression can have a life-long impact on a large number of different people.
"Ultimately, one punch can ruin many lives. One man is in a grave, his attacker is now behind bars and the families of both men are left to suffer the consequences. There are no winners in this case.
"We would ask anyone who finds themselves in an altercation to take a step back and just walk away."