Man admits manslaughter

PUBLISHED: 20:26 12 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

A serial criminal was facing a lengthy prison sentence last night after admitting to killing a “loving” and “generous” Norfolk father.

Brette Conroy , of Ben Culey Drive, Thetford, already had 17 convictions to his name when he punched and kicked Shawn Liggett to death last year.

A serial criminal was facing a lengthy prison sentence last night after admitting killing a "loving" and "generous" Norfolk father.

Brette Conroy, 27, of Ben Culey Drive, Thetford, already had 17 convictions when he punched and kicked Shawn Liggett to death on September 29 last year.

Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter after previously denying his murder.

Norwich Crown Court

heard that Mr Liggett, 31, of York Way, Thetford, suffered a fatal blow to the head

after being chased across Thetford town centre. Earlier that evening he had been drinking on his own at the Kings Head pub, in White Hart Street.

Sasha Wass, prosecuting, said that at about 11.20pm the "very drunk" victim, who was more than four times the legal drink drive limit, got involved in an altercation with a group of men near the Nimmi Indian restaurant.

One of the men was Conroy, who suffered a cut to the lip during the incident.

"Mr Liggett managed to run away from the men in White Hart Street, but he was so keen to get away that he ran into a passing car on Norwich Road," she said.

It was while the "heavily bleeding" Mr Liggett was being assisted by Emma Tilly, the driver of the car, that Conroy caught up with the victim.

"Someone walked up behind her and she noticed the reaction of complete terror from Mr Liggett, who said "no more".

"Conroy walked directly

up to him and landed a

punch to the face, causing

him to fall and lay on the

road in the foetal position. It was that that may have caused the fatal blow. Conroy then marched up and deliberately kicked him," she said.

Police and paramedics were called to the assistance of Mr Liggett, who was unconscious and had stopped breathing. He was taken to the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, but was pronounced brain-dead and died the next day.

"There was a tear to one of the major blood vessels to the brain, which was caused by a blunt trauma from either a kick or a punch," said Ms Wass.

Conroy yesterday admitted manslaughter by lack of intent.

Mr Justice Calvert-Smith told him that prison was "inevitable", but adjourned the case for sentencing at Chelmsford Crown Court in early July.

The court heard that the defendant had 17 previous convictions, which included an actual bodily harm in Watton in 1993, assaulting three police officers in Thetford in 1996, and threatening behaviour in Yarmouth in 2000. He was sentenced to nine months in prison in 2002 for handling stolen goods.

Mr Liggett was described

as a "loving father,

wonderful, kind, and generous" by his fiancée Lorraine Woolsey.

He grew up in Leicester and had worked at the Tesco store in Thetford and as a warehouse worker for the Personnel People agency. He was an animal lover, a skilled pool player, and a computer games fan.

His former partner of three-and-a-half years, Becky Gemmell, who is also mother to two of his children, Joss, four, and Leon, two years, said: "He was a good dad. He was a loving father. The oldest one really looked up to his dad."

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