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Guildford man jailed for manslaughter of "much loved son"

3 minute read
Guildford man jailed for manslaughter of "much loved son"

Published at 1:26pm 6th January 2020.

A man has been jailed for seven and a half years after causing the death of a stranger in Guildford.

Barney Thomas Christopher Coyle, 23, of Frog Grove Lane, Guildford was sentenced today (6 January) at Guildford Crown Court after admitting manslaughter back in November.

His victim, 24-year-old Jamie Smith from Elmbridge, died in hospital four days after the attack in Guildford town centre during the early hours of 12 October.

Mr Smith suffered a single punch to the back of the head in a row over a taxi and passed away on 16 October after several days in St George’s Hospital intensive care unit.

Coyle was initially charged with causing grievous bodily harm, but following Mr Smith’s death was charged with manslaughter.

In a statement Mr Smith's family said:

“No sentence given today will ever compare to the life sentence of grief you have given us, Jamie’s family and friends.

“There are literally no words to describe how we will cope moving forward.

“They say time is a great healer, but we know we will never be the same again.

“We will never find joy like we did before. The world is a dark place of because of people like you.

“Until it is recognised in our British laws that what you did was murder, or you are sentenced accordingly for this type of violence, sadly it will never end.

“To have any type of appropriate deterrent we all need the sentence to reflect the outcome of the crime.

“As parents you have destroyed our lives and in our view you should be in prison for a full life sentence.”

Park Street Guildford
The incident happened in Park Street in the town centre.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Chapman from Surrey Police said:

“This was a tragic incident caused by the reckless and violent action of a man now facing time behind bars, one that has robbed a family of their much loved son.

“Mr Smith was waiting to get his pre-booked taxi home following a night out in Guildford when a man he didn’t know and had never met before jumped into the taxi intending to take it.

“As he spoke to the taxi driver to confirm it was actually his taxi, Coyle got out of the car and attacked Mr Smith from behind with one punch to the back of the head.

“Coyle ran off from the scene but was arrested later that day.”