Gary Stacey death: Ryan Cooper guilty of manslaughter

Gary Stacey death: Ryan Cooper guilty of manslaughter

Gary StaceyImage copyright
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Gary Stacey died from “overwhelming” head injuries in hospital

A law student who killed a man with a single one punch during a night out drinking on the Isle of Wight has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Father-of-10 Gary Stacey, 49, died from brain injuries following an altercation with Ryan Cooper in Newport last year.

Cooper’s trial heard it was not in dispute that the karate black belt threw a punch, but the 21-year-old maintained it was in self-defence.

He had been drinking heavily and had taken drugs earlier in the evening.

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Ryan Cooper insisted he had punched Gary Stacey in self-defence

Jurors at Winchester Crown Court heard that Cooper, of Alma Road, Southampton, had been ejected from Yates’s pub for being drunk on a night out with friends on Valentine’s Day last year.

Earlier in the evening he had posted on Facebook about taking “the biggest line of cocaine” as well as drinking “half a litre of vodka”.

CCTV of the moment Cooper punched Mr Stacey shortly before 04:00 GMT was shown in court.

The defence maintained he threw a punch in self-defence after a “verbally threatening” Mr Stacey approached him “marching with aggressive nature” and with clenched fists.

The jury had heard a recording of the 999 call in which Cooper phoned the police to hand himself in.

The prosecution said his version of events was “a campaign of cover-ups and lies” after an unprovoked attack.

Mr Stacey suffered a fractured eye socket and, after hitting his head on the ground, bleeding on the brain. He died later after being airlifted to Southampton General Hospital.

A date for sentencing has yet to be set.