Northampton man cleared of Pte Rory McWilliams manslaughter

A jury has found a Northamptonshire man not guilty of the manslaughter of a 20-year-old paratrooper whom he punched in a scuffle after a night out.

Levi Chandler, 26, of Northampton, was cleared of the manslaughter of Pte Rory McWilliams at Northampton Crown Court.

The court had heard how the paratrooper had started the fight in Northampton which led to him being fatally injured.

Pte McWilliams, also of Northampton, died six days after being punched and hitting his head on the ground.

The court had heard that Pte McWilliams had confronted his ex-girlfriend's new partner Glen Thompson over a toy that had been broken on Christmas Day.

Mr Chandler intervened and hit Mr McWilliams, jurors heard.

'I feel terrible'

The court heard the soldier, who was about to embark on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, was with a friend in Northampton town centre when they passed another group including Mr Chandler and Mr Thompson.

The prosecution said Mr Thompson and Pte McWilliams were in an argument and Mr Chandler intervened.

Image caption Rory McWilliams died a week after the incident in Northampton town centre

Mr Chandler, of Pomfret Court, River View, Northampton, told police Mr Thompson had been backing away when Mr McWilliams had approached him with a clenched fist.

He said he had intervened and hit him once to stop it.

In the witness box, he said: "My friend was in danger, as I saw it, so I was not ready to walk away.

"Glen looked like he was in trouble. What would you have done?"

Brian Dean, defending, asked him: "You now know Rory suffered fatal injuries.

"If you had realised he was in such terrible trouble what would you have done?"

Mr Chandler replied: "I would have called an ambulance. I feel terrible.

"He's got a daughter and I've got two daughters myself and now she's not got a dad and that's down to my actions on that night.

"I think about it every day. It's horrible."

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