Jury fails to reach verdict in manslaughter trial over death of Irishman Kevin Kelly

Jury fails to reach verdict in manslaughter trial over death of Irishman Kevin Kelly

A JURY has failed to reach a verdict in the trial of a man accused of the manslaughter of an Irish plasterer in England.

Kevin Kelly, 27, who was born in London but grew up in Co. Kilkenny, died in the early hours of May 1, 2016 after he was punched on a night out.

Richard Wood, 24 and who now lives in London Road, Bognor Regis, maintains that he acted against Mr Kelly in self-defence and pleaded not guilty to a charge of manslaughter.

The jury spent 12 hours deliberating last Friday, July 14 after a week-long trial at Luton Crown Court.

After they returned to the stand, Judge Michael QC asked, if given more time, there was a reasonable chance they could bring in a verdict.

When the foreman said there wasn’t the judge said he would discharge them from continuing with their deliberations.

The prosecution then announced it would be seeking a retrial for the man accused of the manslaughter.

The retrial will take place in January 2018.

Kevin Kelly had left a nightclub in Luton and was making his way home along Upper George Street at around 5am when he got into a fight with Mr Wood who was coming in the opposite direction, the court heard during the trial.

The jury were told Mr Kelly, a 27-year-old father of one who ran his own plastering company, died as a result of a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage.

That bleed on his brain was caused by damage to his vertebral artery after the sudden, violent twisting of his head resulting from the blow to his jaw.

Mr Wood went into the witness box to tell the court how he had struck the blow to Mr Kelly in self-defence. He said it was Mr Kelly who had started the fight.

Mr Wood, who lived in Luton at the time, said when he left the scene he didn't realise how serious Mr Kelly's condition was.

“I was just trying to protect myself,” he said.