Rugby player jailed for killing mum’s partner
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