His death has left me feel­ing like empty shell

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

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)

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