London

City worker jailed for killing man with punch over shoe prank

Alexander Thomson Image copyright City of London Police
Image caption Alexander Thomson broke down repeatedly as the assault was described in court

A City worker who fatally punched a friend after he threw his shoe out of a car window following a drunken prank has been jailed for three years.

Alexander Thomson, 33, from Clapham in south London, leaned forward and hit Tom Hulme, 23, after he threw the shoe.

Initially, he got out the car and appeared fine, but then he collapsed on the pavement. He died in hospital the next day from a brain haemorrhage.

The judge said the incident arose "out of trivial, friendly horseplay".

Mr Hulme's family said their lives had been "submerged in sadness and sorrow" since the tragic incident, which occurred in Farringdon Street, central London, during the last August bank holiday weekend.

Image copyright City of London Police
Image caption Tom Hulme, from Leeds, died in hospital from a brain haemorrhage

Prosecutor Timothy Cray said Thomson, who has three previous convictions for alcohol-related violence, admitted drinking four pints at lunchtime on the day of the assault, before going back to work and later having up to five bottles of beer, four vodkas, three shots of Jagermeister and two small snorts of cocaine.

He met up with a friend who knew Mr Hulme and they were heading for a party in a taxi when the incident happened.

Mr Cray said the "unexpected blow" caused a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage, which is a type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain.

Defending, Lisa Wilding QC said: "He is properly described as traumatised and tormented by the irreparable damage caused to Mr Hulme's family. None of that seeks to excuse his actions."

The Old Bailey heard Thomson admitted manslaughter at the first opportunity.

Judge Anthony Bate said: "A talented and intelligent young man had a promising life snatched away from him in early adulthood after you lashed out at him in a moment of drunken hot temper.

"You must live with that responsibility."

The victim, who was originally from Leeds, had worked as a recruitment consultant.

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