Surrey

Pair admit killing retired builder in Surrey street

Keith Nicholson
Image caption Keith Nicholson died in hospital the day after the attack

Two men have admitted attacking and killing a 62-year-old builder in a Surrey street.

Stephen Puttock, 30, and Barry Stretch, 36, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Keith Nicholson, in Guildford in September 2000 at the Old Bailey.

He died of a heart attack the day after he was punched and kicked unconscious.

Puttock and Stretch were jailed for life in February 2007 for the murder of Mr Nicholson but their convictions were quashed on appeal.

Lord Justice Hooper had ruled both men's convictions were unsafe and directed that a fresh trial should be held.

'Unprovoked attack'

The retrial ended in a hung jury and the pair pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Wednesday at the start of a second retrial.

Mr Nicholson, of South Road, Guildford, was attacked outside Ardmore House in Manor Road as he walked alone late at night.

Image caption Stephen Puttock and Barry Stretch will be sentenced in July

Det Sgt Simon Corke said: "This was a violent and unprovoked attack on an entirely innocent 62-year-old man who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"This has been a challenging case and the investigation into Mr Nicholson's death has spanned the last decade and two trials.

"Puttock and Stretch have today finally admitted responsibility for his death and I hope that offers some comfort to the family and friends of Mr Nicholson."

He added: "It is a credit to the professionalism of the team that we have finally brought this investigation to a successful conclusion and I would also like to pay tribute to the witnesses in the case who have been called to give evidence on two occasions."

Puttock and Stretch were released on bail to be sentenced on 23 July.

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