South West Wales

Man cleared of manslaughter after punch in Swansea

Jonathan Robert Thomas and Daniel Jason Shepherd
Image caption Jonathan Thomas (left) died after the incident and Daniel Shepherd was tried over his death

A man accused of killing a former rugby player with a single punch has been cleared of manslaughter.

Daniel Shepherd, 23, from Skewen, Neath Port Talbot, said he acted in self-defence when he hit Jonathan Thomas, 34, outside the Cross Keys pub in Swansea city centre on 1 November 2015.

Mr Thomas died in Morriston Hospital about an hour after the incident.

Businessman Mr Shepherd left the dock at Swansea Crown Court in tears after being acquitted by the jury.

During the trial, the prosecution had claimed the defendant reacted aggressively when Mr Thomas bumped into him outside the pub in the early hours of the morning.

He then struck Mr Thomas, rupturing an artery in his neck.

Mr Shepherd always accepted he threw a punch but denied manslaughter saying he was acting in self-defence.

The trial was also shown footage of an incident earlier that night on nearby Oxford Street where Mr Thomas was seen staggering towards a group of people, before punching a man once in the face, knocking him to the ground.

It took the jury of five women and seven men 10-and-a-half hours to return their verdict.

A statement from Mr Thomas' family after the trial ended said: "Nothing will bring Jonathan back to us and no verdict will ever help us as a family.

"We will never forget Jonathan."

South Wales Police Det Ch Insp Gareth Morgan said: "The court has heard how a single punch during a normal night out can ruin so many lives and lead to such a tragic loss of life.

"If some good can come from such a tragic incident then I hope that people watching or reading about the case will reflect and think about the impact one punch can have so we can prevent further incidents in the future."

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