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Men sentenced for manslaughter

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 21, 2014

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TWO Stoke-on-Trent men have been sentenced for the manslaughter of a Biddulph man.

Matthew Hancock, aged 22, from Cumberbatch Avenue, Fegg Hayes, and Callum Belfield, aged 22, from Heathfield Road, Chell Heath, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Raymond Cannon at a hearing last October.

Today at Stafford Crown Court Hancock was sentenced to four-and-a-half years and Belfield to four-and-a-quarter years.

A third man, Shane Davies, aged 21, of Evans Street, Stoke-on-Trent, was sentenced to 12 months for affray. He had previously admitted throwing a bottle at another man.

Mr Cannon, aged 52, from the Knypersley area of Biddulph, was pronounced dead outside The Jester public house in Fegg Hayes in the early hours of Saturday 11 May 2013.

Police had been called to the Biddulph Road pub following reports of a disturbance involving a number of men, which sadly resulted in the death of Mr Cannon, who was a regular at the venue.

Following the incident an investigation was launched by Staffordshire Police’s Major Investigation Department (MID) which resulted in the arrest of six men in connection with the matter.

After detailed inquiries three of the men arrested were released from their bail without charge.

Hancock and Belfield were subsequently charged with, and pleaded guilty to, manslaughter and Davies to affray.

The court heard Mr Cannon and three friends returned to The Jester at approximately 11.40pm on Friday 10 May after going for drinks in Burslem.

Upon their arrival back at the pub there was an altercation outside between the pub’s co-owner and a group of younger men.

Mr Cannon was punched which caused him to fall to the floor. Inquiries established that both Hancock and Belfield were responsible.

An initial Home Office post-mortem examination proved inconclusive. After further medical tests were carried out it was ascertained the assault caused Mr Cannon’s death.

Detective Chief Inspector Darren Harding, who led the investigation, said: “I hope today’s sentences bring some comfort to Mr Cannon’s family.

“What turned out to be a typical Friday night out with friends sadly ended in tragedy.

“Mr Cannon got caught up in a spur of the moment incident which escalated out of control.

“Our thoughts remain with Mr Cannon’s family at this very difficult time.”

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