Thugs who killed fa­ther-of-six face jail

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Thom Mor­ris tmor­ris@thek­m­group.co.uk

TWO thugs from Ash­ford are fac­ing jail sen­tences af­ter ad­mit­ting killing a fa­ther-of­six in front of his wife and chil­dren.

Christo­pher Goldfinch of Fal­con Way and Scott Stevens of Au­gus­tus Walk de­nied mur­der­ing Paul Hopkins out­side his fam­ily home in Ken­ning­ton when they ap­peared be­fore a judge at Maid­stone Crown Court on Mon­day.

The pros­e­cu­tion ac­cepted their guilty pleas to man­slaugh­ter.

An­thony Prosser, pros­e­cut­ing, told the judge: “The Crown ac­cepts no weapons were used and there was no stamp­ing. Pre­dom­i­nantly, one is look­ing at punches to the head.”

Mr Prosser said the vic­tim’s fam­ily had been con­sulted be­fore tak­ing the de­ci­sion to ac­cept the pleas.

Bru­tal

The bru­tal at­tack hap­pened on a sunny Sun­day evening in a quiet cul-de-sac in Bee­cholme Drive on Au­gust 2 last year. Mr Hopkins’ chil­dren had been play­ing in the sun­shine when a neigh­bour re­port­edly com­plained they were be­ing too noisy.

The 32-year-old was at­tacked af­ter what po­lice de­scribed as a “dis­pute be­tween neigh­bours”. His wife Toyah Brown-Davies and the chil­dren looked on as he was beaten.

The dad of five daugh­ters and one son was taken to King’s Col­lege Hos­pi­tal in London where he un­der­went brain surgery.

Neigh­bours de­scribed how a pool of blood formed around his head as he lay on the pave­ment af­ter the at­tack.

Goldfinch and Stevens, both 23, were soon ar­rested and charged with caus­ing griev­ous bod­ily harm with in­tent.

They ap­peared be­fore Ash­ford mag­is­trates in De­cem­ber with the charge now murder fol­low­ing Mr Hopkins’ death the month be­fore.

They ap­peared be­fore a judge in De­cem­ber and were held in cus­tody be­fore reap­pear­ing in Fe­bru­ary where Goldfinch de­nied murder, while Stevens did not en­ter a plea.

At the time they both de­nied man­slaugh­ter.

On Mon­day Ti­mothy Roberts, QC for Goldfinch, said the fa­tal blow was struck by his client with his left hand and not his right, as de­scribed by two wit­nesses close by.

Nei­ther was it ac­cepted, he said, that Mr Hopkins was kicked at all or that there were three as­sailants, as had been sug­gested.

“We make it plain only a cus­to­dial term can be passed in re­la­tion to this of­fence,” said Mr Roberts.

Goldfinch had re­ceived rep­ri­mands and a cau­tion for com­mon as­sault in the past.

Gib­son Gren­fell, QC, on be­half of Stevens, said his client had one rep­ri­mand for shoplift­ing and a warn­ing for pos­sess­ing an of­fen­sive weapon.

Mr Hopkins re­mained in a coma un­til his death on Novem­ber 23 at the Kent and Can­ter­bury Hos­pi­tal.

Judge An­drew Pa­tience ad­journed sen­tence for re­ports un­til a date to be fixed, soon af­ter June 14.

Stevens and Goldfinch were re­manded in cus­tody.

GUILTY: Thugs Christo­pher Goldfinch and Scott Steven have ad­mit­ted the man­slaugh­ter of fa­ther-of-six Paul Hopkins

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