His death has left me feeling like empty shell
THE death of a father-of-two in a violent attack has left his widow’s life “in ruins”, a judge heard yesterday.
Esinkumo Ayabowei was punched once in the face outside a Bangor nightclub and struck his head on the ground.
The 27-year-old, also known as Henry or Romeo, died in hospital having never regained consciousness.
Kieron Terence Roberts, 26, of Penrhyn Avenue, Bangor, who had only recently been released from prison, has admitted Mr Ayabowei’s manslaughter and will be sentenced at Caernarfon Crown Court.
A police officer read an emotional victim personal statement written by Mr Ayabowei’s widow, Melicia Gerrard, during a hearing yesterday.
She said her Nigeria-born husband of nearly six years had high hopes for the future, both personally and professionally, but these had been taken away in a “senseless violent act committed by a dangerous thug”.
She added her life had been “left in ruins” and she felt like an “empty shell”.
Her husband was an “exceptional person of impeccable character who always placed the thougts and welfare of others first”, she said.
Ms Gerrard said she dreaded the thought of having to explain to her two young daughters, aged five and just a few months, what had happened to their father.
Roberts, wearing a grey shirt, dark trousers and striped tie and flanked in the dock by security staff and two police officers, spoke only to confirm his name during the hearing. Members of Mr Ayabowei’s family sat in court accompanied by police officers.
There were also members of Roberts’ family presant.
The court heard Mr Ayabowei and Roberts had been involved in an altercation in Menai Bridge last Decemeber when he had been the subject of racial abuse.
Roberts was said to have been drunk and acting aggressively and had made racial comments to which Mr Ayabowei had not responded.
Paul Lewis QC, prosecuting, said Roberts had been released from prison shortly before the incident after being jailed for five years in July 2013 for holding a sawn-off shotgun to another man’s head in a row over money.
In her statement, Ms Gerrard said she can’t help thinking her husband’s death could have been avoided if Roberts had been kept in prison.
Mr Lewis said that on March 31 both Roberts and Mr Ayabowei had been out socialising with friends at various pubs in the Bangor area before making their way to Peep nightclub in Dean Street.
At about 2am there was an argument among a group of young women in the club and they were ejected.
Outside the argument continued and CCTV footage showed Mr Ayabowei ushering one of the women away.
Roberts, said to be boasting about his release from prison and how he was “going to bang somone out tonight”, approached Mr Ayabowei and, without warning or provocation, punched him.
He fell backwards and his head struck the ground – one witness said the sound of it was “like something being broken”.
Mr Lewis said others intervened and an ambulance was called.
He was taken initially to nearby Ysbyty Gwynedd and later transferred to the Royal Stoke Hospital where he died. Pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers said he died of severe blunt force trauma to the head.
Roberts was held by club doormen until police arrived, and claimed Mr Ayabowei, of Llangefni, had “come for him”.
During extensive police interviews Roberts refused to answer questions, but in a statement said he thought he was going to be assaulted. The punch he threw was thrown inn selfdefence, Robertserts claimed
Mr Lewiss added the guilty plea to the charge meant the self defence claim had been abandoned by Roberts.
The judgee will hear mitigaation from Roberts’ erts’ barrister.
● Dad-of-two Esinkumo Ayabowei, 27, was killed when he was punched in the face by Kieron Roberts (left)