Leeds single punch killer is jailed

Three men have been found guilty of manslaughter after a young dad was killed by a single punch in an attack at a party.

Dad-of-one Thomas Ball, 22, died after the punch from Dominic Croasdale tore an artery in his neck, Leeds Crown Court heard.

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Mr Ball never regained consciousness and he died the next day in hospital.

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Croasdale, 21, of Thomas Street, Woodhouse, Leeds, was jailed for four-and-a-half years yesterday after he went "mob handed" to Headingley Halls intent on starting violence.

Alex Taylor, 20, who was a resident at the Halls, was sent to a young offenders institution for four and a half years for wielding a baseball bat during the attack.

Dwayne Thomas, 20, of Berkeley Crescent, Harehills, was sent to a young offenders institution for three years after he went with them to "add to the weight of numbers".

All three were convicted of manslaughter after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

The court heard how Mr Ball and four friends had spent the day drinking and had gone to the Halls, which houses students and homeless people, to look for resident Jordan Randall.

Earlier in the day, Mr Randall had been involved in a confrontation with Alex Taylor, the court heard.

Taylor acted out of "self-centredness and paranoia" when he saw the group at the Halls, thinking they had come to seek revenge for the earlier incident.

He called Croasdale and Thomas and together they burst into the room where the men were drinking and Mr Ball was attacked.

Jailing them, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier said: "It is of course accepted that you did not intend serious injury and probably did not intend even slight injury at the point.

"Your blow was however unlawful and as the verdicts indicate, so was the enterprise from the moment the three of you entered that building."

He added: "The harm is that a man's life was tragically cut short. I have read statements from his partner and his father which describe in measured terms the immediate pain and the continuing and aching void which his death has caused them.

"I have detected no remorse on the part of any of you during the course of the trial."

The judge also praised the detailed investigations of officers from West Yorkshire Police's Homicide and Major Enquiry Team.

After the hearing, Mr Ball's father Alwyn and partner Danielle Howes paid tribute to him. Mr Ball said: "Thomas was a fantastic son as well as a fantastic dad to his one-year-old boy Tyler.

"We are pleased with the verdict and the sentence these men have received. I hope when they are released they will be able to turn their lives around. The professionalism of the police has been fantastic."

Detective Inspector Phil Jackson on Alice's Steps in Rodley Canal, where the third assault took place. Picture: Simon Hulme

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