A man who inflicted fatal head injuries on a rival who suspected him of having an affair with his wife has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Alexander Frew was jailed today after a judge told him he would have to live with the killing Matthew Welford for the rest of his life.
Dad-of-two Mr Welford, 41, died eight days after being attacked by Frew, 44, in the car park of Garforth Country Club on June 4 this year.
The jury heard Frew had spent the night at a hotel with Mr Welford’s wife Sarah on two occasions in April and May prior to the fatal incident.
Frew gave evidence at his manslaughter trial in which he denied anything sexual had taken place between them but admitted that they had kissed on the second occasion at the hotel.
A witness at the trial also described seeing Frew and Mrs Welford sat alone together in the country club two weeks before and they had been “touchy feely” with each other
Jailing Frew, judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “This is not a court of morals and I simply set out these matters in order to realise what happened later.”
The judge added: “It is perfectly obvious that Matthew Welford believed you were attracted to his wife and as a result there were a number of confrontations before June 4.”
The jury found Frew guilty by a majority of 10-2 yesterday (Monday) after almost two days of deliberation following the week-long trial at Leeds Crown Court.
The court was shown CCTV footage of Frew, a train conductor, striking Mr Welford as the two men argued in the car park outside.
During the trial, club member Kenneth Carter said he heard Frew say: “I’m waiting for him to come outside. I’m going to have him.”
Frew, of Hazlewood Avenue, Garforth, claimed he struck Mr Welford as he feared he was going to be head butted by him as the two men rowed.
Judge Marson said: “Cases such as these are very difficult.
“It is not suggested that you intended either to kill or cause Matthew serious harm, but the consequences in this case were unintentional and unintended.
“The results were, of course, catastrophic for Matthew and his family.
“The sentence must be based on what you did, your culpability and the consquences of your unlawful act.
“The sentence is not meant to be the measure of the value of a human life. No sentence can ever do that.”
The judge described Frew as a hard working man and said he has no previous convictions.
He added: “You had done much on that day to try to avoid physical confrontation.
“I accept you are remorseful and you will have to live with what you did for the rest of your life.
“Prison will be hard for a man like you.”
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Wallen, of West Yorkshire Police Protective Services Crime, said: “This is a truly tragic case. It demonstrates all too vividly the very grave consequences of throwing that one punch. A moment of madness has left a man dead and another man’s life in ruins.
“Never was there a clearer example of why, no matter what the perceived provocation, it is always better to take a deep breath and turn and walk away. “
A statement from the family of Matthew Welford read: “Matthew’s death in such sudden and tragic circumstances has had a devastating effect on the family. When we visited him in hospital he was unrecognisable and we can’t get those haunting images out of our heads.
“We have done all we can to be strong as a family since Matthew’s death but we know that when we wake up on Christmas morning he is not going to be there and we are all going to go through it again.
“Like most people out there, we thought something like this would never happen to us until it did. We wouldn’t want anyone else to go through the pain of losing somebody in this way. There are two families here who lives have been ruined.
“Our message to people is to be the bigger person and use their common sense. If you get into a situation with someone then just walk away. That other person is someone’s son, father, brother and just a moment of violence can ruin their life and yours forever.”