‘I’m sorry’, says man cleared of manslaughter following Norwich street attack

A 27-year-old man who has been cleared of the manslaughter of a father-of-three who died after he was punched during a night out in Norwich has apologised to the victim's family.

Alan Jewitt, 43, from Gertrude Road, Norwich, died on August 12 after being punched near Chicago's nightclub, on Prince of Wales Road, by Ion Lacatus, of Kettlebaston Road, London.

Mr Lacatus, who denied manslaughter and said he acted in self defence, was yesterday cleared by a jury at Norwich Crown Court who took just over four hours to reach their verdict.

Speaking outside court Mr Lacatus, who broke down in tears when the verdict was announced, said he was sorry for what had happened and the devastating impact it has had on Mr Jewitt's family.

He said: 'I feel sorry. I'm in a bad position to tell them I feel sorry, but from the bottom of my heart I am.'

Mr Lacatus, a Romanian national who was working on a shop refurbishment in Norwich at the time, said he was happy with the verdict and added he thought both the jury and judge were fair.

Judge Peter Jacobs said cases like this were 'very, very difficult' and 'sad' as well before issuing a plea to revellers who travel from across Norfolk to go to Prince of Wales Road.

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He said: 'I do wish that when people wander out down Prince of Wales Road – we've all seen it – they drink a bit less on all sides. If they did we wouldn't be here trying to resolve issues like this.

'If people were just a bit more sober they wouldn't behave like this.'

It was a message mirrored by Det Chief Insp Neil Luckett, of the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team (MIT), who said: 'This incident highlights the dangers of drinking and engaging in acts of violence and underlines the need for people to consider the consequences of their actions.

'Both men had been on a night out in Norwich City Centre, which ended in tragedy. Mr Jewitt lost his life as a result of a single punch and leaves behind a young family. Our sympathies remain with them at this difficult time.'

peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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