Mum of man kicked and punched to death in Morrisons hopes killer ‘rots in jail’
- Credit: PA Real Life
A devastated mum says she hopes the thug whose deadly punch and kick killed her son when he attacked him at a Morrisons check-out 'rots in jail' after he was handed an 11-year sentence.
Beautician Sue Rogers will spend the rest of her life mourning the death of her eldest child, Nick Rogers, who was just 26 when brute Lee Monk, 20, killed him.
Speaking after Monk's sentencing for manslaughter at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, heartbroken Sue, 45, of Wymondham, Norfolk, said: 'I will never feel sorry for Lee or understand what happened that day, but I hope I hope he rots in jail and I can now get some closure and find some peace.
'When the judge said he had got 11 years I looked at the sky, kissed the air and said 'that's for my baby'.
'I really felt I had done my boy proud, I've done the best I can for him.'
Before the fatal attack on July 17 last year, Nick had turned his life around, losing an incredible 10 stone in weight and training to be a bouncer.
He was on the way to the gym to work out, when he nipped into his local Morrisons around 7pm, only to encounter Monk - who he had fallen out with before - near the checkouts, where they had a row that rapidly escalated into a fight.
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Shocking CCTV shows Nick being punched to the floor, before he was kicked in the back of the head by Monk.
Somehow managing to pull himself to his feet, Nick then staggered a short distance, before collapsing and losing consciousness - only to die in hospital the next day.
Initially, Monk, of Wymondham, and another man, were charged with his murder, as well as with affray, following an alleged attack on Nick's friend, Leo Wardrop, 27.
But on December 20, after a two-and-a-half-week murder trial, the jury found Lee Monk guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter and not guilty of assault - also acquitting the second man on both counts.
Speaking after Monk's sentence of 11 years detention in a young offenders' institution yesterday (FEB 1), at Norwich Crown Court, Sue said: 'Lee got what he deserved. I feel joyous. I feel for the first time I have got some justice for my boy.
'As his mum, I feel proud of the outcome. I thought he would get five years. People shouldn't be able to do that to someone and get away with it, and the 11-year sentence shows you you will not.
'Nick went to Morrisons to buy some water, but lost his life. I strongly believe this should have been a murder conviction, not manslaughter.
'You always think, as a mum, that your children might be hurt in a car accident, or at a nightclub, but there was never a time when I thought I would have to look out for my children in the supermarket.
'Nick had a life, he counted and he has just been wiped from the face of the planet for no reason - and that is heartbreaking.'
Just hours before her son's attack, Sue remembers basking in the afternoon sun in her garden with her friend Rebecca Parker, chatting with Nick, Leo and another friend, Richard.
At around 5.30pm the lads announced they were heading out to the get something to eat before going to the local Morrisons supermarket, and then on to the gym.
This was the last conversation Sue - who will never forget it - had with her son.
She recalled, tearfully: 'Nick walked to the end of the garden and called back to me, 'Can you wash my shirt while I'm out?'
'I said, 'How old are you? Wash your own bloody shirt,' before saying, 'Of course I'll do it.' He laughed and left.
'That was the last conversation we had. My lasting memory is of his smiling face.'
Tragically, two hours later, Sue's phone rang and everything changed.
She said: 'I saw it was Leo and just knew something unimaginable had happened.
'He was screaming, saying, 'Nick won't wake up… it's bad.'
'My heart felt like it had fallen from my chest. That feeling has not gone away and will stay with me forever.'
Told they were at Morrisons, just a two-minute journey from the family home, her partner-of-25-years, engineer Andy Steadman, 47, drove Sue there, while Rebecca stayed behind to look after the couple's two children Hope, 16, and Cameron, 18.
Sue, who split-up with Nick's dad - who was no longer involved with him - when he was 15-months-old, continued: 'We turned into the car park and I knew, instantly, it was going to be awful. Blue lights were everywhere – ambulance, police cars and an air ambulance.
'I felt completely numb, but must have been running on adrenaline.
'Without waiting for Andy to park, I hurtled out of the car and into the supermarket, desperate to be with my boy.
'Straight away, I spotted him, lying on the floor by the customer service desk, receiving CPR.
'All I remember is having to get to him, wanting to hold him and make him better, but it was too late.'
Running past three officers, Sue was screaming and begging the police to let her be with Nick.
She recalled: 'He was lying still, his eyes wide open, with a massive cut on the side of his head.'
As police had declared the area a crime scene, Sue sat slumped next to the police tape and held her boy's shoe.
She said: 'His trainer was the closest I could get to him. I sat there, rubbing his foot, telling him I loved him and everything was going to be ok, he would be alright.'
Paramedics put Nick into a land ambulance and Sue and Andy went home to pick up their bags, before following him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Transferred to intensive care, Sue sat by her boy's bedside, unsure of his prognosis.
'I just stayed there with him, talking to him and saying how proud I was,' she said.
'I wished it was me who was lying there, not him, with his whole life ahead of him.'
Then, at around lunchtime the next day, on July 18, doctors called the family into a quiet side room and said tests had showed Nick was brain dead.
'We all fell to pieces,' Sue said. 'I knew deep-down he was gone, but hearing it confirmed was completely devastating.
'He looked so peaceful. He had 30 people come to see him while we spoke with the organ donation team and agreed to give all his internal organs away, just not his eyes because they were such a beautiful part of him.'
The family spent one last day with Nick, saying their goodbyes, before his body was taken on July 19.
On the same day, they were told Lee Monk, 20, and another man, had been charged with Nick's murder and with affray, after an alleged attack on Leo.
It was another 10 weeks before Nick's body was released and the family held his funeral at Colney Wood burial ground on the outskirts of Norwich, before he was cremated at Earlham Cemetery.
Around 120 people paid their respects to Nick. His beloved bulldog, Winston, led the funeral procession, before Charlie Puth's, See You Again, played him into the service and friends paid their respects by writing on the casket.
Finally, on December 4 last year, Lee Monk and a second man stood trial for Nick's murder at Norwich Crown Court.
According to police, a number of witness statements, taken from people in the store, described the attack as 'frenzied,' saying Nick 'was making no attempt to defend himself.'
Three other people, a woman and two men, arrested in connection with the incident, were released without charge.
Then, on December 20, the jury found Lee Monk guilty of manslaughter, but not guilty of the assault of Nick's friend. The second man was acquitted of both counts.
After Monk, of Silfield Road, Wymondham, was sentenced to 11 years yesterday, Sue added: 'You just can't believe anyone would do that to someone in a supermarket. Nick wasn't posing a danger, or any threat.
'It still doesn't feel real. I feel part of my soul has been torn away. There's no normal anymore. Normal was being a mum to Nick and my other two children, Normal was arguing with him and sorting his gym kit out every day. Devastating doesn't come close to how losing a child like this makes you feel.
'Nick had just started on his life, had worked so hard to be the man he always wanted to be, and didn't think he could be.
'Then he lost his life when he went to buy a bottle of water. How will I ever be able to accept that?'
Addressing Monk in the dock yesterday, she added: 'You have ruined my life and have taken something from me I can never get back. You also have to live with that.'