Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Newport death: One-punch killer launches court appeals

Ryan Cooper Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Ryan Cooper posted on Facebook he had been drinking and taking drugs before the altercation

A law student jailed for killing a father-of-10 with a single punch is appealing against his conviction and six-year sentence.

Ryan Cooper, 21, from Southampton, was convicted in April of the manslaughter of Gary Stacey, 49, in Newport, Isle of Wight, in February 2016.

Cooper had told a jury at Winchester Crown Court he acted in self-defence.

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that Cooper filed appeals in May, as reported by the Island Echo.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Gary Stacey suffered fatal head injuries in St James Street, Newport, on 14 February 2016.

The trial heard it was not in dispute the defendant, a karate black belt, threw a punch in St James Street at about 04:00 GMT after a night out with friends.

Earlier that evening, Cooper, of Alma Road, had been ejected from Yates's pub for being drunk.

He had posted on Facebook about taking "the biggest line of cocaine" as well as drinking "half a litre of vodka".

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Gary Stacey died from "overwhelming" head injuries in hospital

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

The defence maintained Cooper was acting in self-defence after a "verbally threatening" Mr Stacey approached him "with aggressive nature" and clenched fists.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Warby said Cooper had not acted "in lawful self-defence" when he struck Mr Stacey with a "powerful punch".

He told Cooper: "I am sure you would take back those two seconds if only you could. But of course you can't. The case is sadder for Gary Stacey and his family."

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