Mid Wales

Blaine Kirkham jailed for manslaughter of Lewis Clarke

Lewis Clarke
Image caption Lewis Clarke had been due to join the Royal Navy in November

A 20-year-old man who punched a friend following a prank has been jailed for three years for his manslaughter.

Blaine Kirkham, of Newtown in Powys, admitted manslaughter, but was originally charged with murdering Lewis Clarke, 19, also from the town.

Mr Clarke died in hospital after he was struck at Plynlimon House in Llanidloes in July.

Kirkham was jailed for an extra six months at Caernarfon Crown Court after admitting supplying ecstasy.

Mr Clarke died when a blood vessel burst after he was hit on the left side of his face by Kirkham, the court heard.

Kirkham had played a prank on Mr Clarke, shaving off his eyebrow and cutting his sock as he slept.

'Moment of stupidity'

Upset by Kirkham's behaviour, Mr Clarke told him: "You might as well hit me", the court was told.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC said: "You still don't accept full responsibility for your behaviour and that's a factor you will have to address during your sentence."

Following the hearing, Mr Clarke's family issued a statement saying: "We are here today because of a moment of stupidity, where someone did not stop to think about the consequence of their actions.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that our lives have been devastated by the needless loss of Lewis's life.

"He was a gifted young man a wonderful son, devoted brother to Josie and also a great friend to many. We miss him every day and at times our grief is overwhelming. We will never get over his loss."

Det Ch Insp Shane Williams of Dyfed-Powys Police said Mr Clarke's family had shown "remarkable dignity and resilience throughout this ordeal, and have found the strength to help us with our inquiries".

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