Rugby player jailed for killing mum’s part­ner

Western Mail - - NEWS - NINO WIL­LIAMS Re­porter nino.wil­liams@waleson­line.co.uk

TWO fam­i­lies “have been left dev­as­tated” af­ter a man struck his mother’s part­ner, caus­ing him to fall and suf­fer fa­tal brain in­juries.

Rugby-play­ing Kurt Ve­lardo had hit Terry Bell with the back of his hand fol­low­ing a con­fronta­tion out­side his fam­ily home in Mo­riah Road, Tre­boeth, in Novem­ber last year.

Mr Bell’s fall led to him hit­ting the back of his head on a plant pot, leav­ing him se­verely in­jured. The 49-year-old was taken to hospi­tal where he died three days later.

Ve­lardo, 30, had de­nied man­slaugh­ter, but was found guilty by a jury at Swansea Crown Court.

The jury’s ma­jor­ity verdict, of 11 to one, was reached af­ter al­most six hours of de­lib­er­a­tion.

The court had been told the cause of ten­sion be­tween the two men was over Ve­lardo’s mother’s re­la­tion­ship with Mr Bell, who had been a friend of his late father.

Ve­lardo had used the back of his hand to strike Mr Bell, with whom he “haboured a dis­like” be­cause of his re­la­tion­ship with his mother, de­spite the in­ter­ven­tion of one of his sis­ters, who had at­tempted to keep the men apart.

He had then left the scene when paramedics ar­rived, “even when it would have been ob­vi­ous that his in­jury was ex­tremely se­ri­ous”.

Fol­low­ing the guilty verdict, Ni­cola Pow­ell, mit­i­gat­ing for Ve­lardo, said the Pen­lan RFC player had no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, and added: “This is a tragic case for all sides.

“Two fam­i­lies have been dev­as­tated by the ac­tions of this de­fen­dant on that night.

“We have heard Terry Bell’s fam­ily have been left with­out a brother and son, and the de­fen­dant’s mother had been left with­out her long-term part­ner, al­beit she is very sup­port­ive of her son.

“The de­fen­dant wishes, through me, to ex­press sin­cere con­do­lences to the whole of the Bell fam­ily, and your hon­our ac­cepts the re­morse he has shown from the wit­ness box is gen­uine.

“He has come to terms with the verdict the jury re­turned. He also ac­cepts your hon­our has to sen­tence him in re­spect of this mat­ter and he re­spects the court’s process.

“Hav­ing said that, this de­fen­dant, I would sub­mit, is a young man and I have asked the court to ac­cept he acted com­pletely out of char­ac­ter on the night in ques­tion.

“This man has had ex­em­plary con­duct through­out his life, apart from the night in ques­tion, and it is not a man who will ever trou­ble this court again.”

Judge Paul Thomas QC said he ac­cepted Ve­lardo’s re­morse, and said he was “not re­motely” a dan­ger­ous of­fender, and that the least sen­tence he could give that was com­men­su­rate with his pub­lic duty was three years.

Ve­lardo was told that he would serve 18 months of that in cus­tody, af­ter which he would be re­leased on li­cence.

> Kurt Ve­lardo, 30, has been jailed for three years

> Ter­ence Bell

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