‘I hit him with one-bomb’

Jake Roberts - jailed
Jake Roberts - jailed
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A TEENAGED thug who killed a “good Samaritan” dad after a Wigan Athletic match has been caged indefinitely.

Jailing 17-year-old Jake Roberts for manslaughter, the sentencing judge said he had been “out of control” and had shown little if any remorse.

Roberts, who hails from Birmingham, but was lodging with a friend in Hindley Green at the time, killed father of five Stephen Garvey with a single, devastating blow.

Liverpool Crown Court Mr Garvey, 45, had earlier been to the Latics-Manchester United game at the DW Stadium on February 26 and was playing the “good Samaritan” in the early hours of the following by escorting a teenaged girl through Leigh when the attack took place.

The 16-year-old had earlier been with Roberts and his friend, but walked off alone after the friend assaulted another man knocking him unconscious outside a taxi office, said Stuart Driver, QC, prosecuting.

The court was told that Roberts had travelled to a Leigh nightclub with the friend that day and was “walking around the club staring at people as if he may cause trouble”. And the crowded courtroom was shown CCTV footage showing Mr Garvey walking along Henry Street with the girl and Roberts and his friend jumping off a wall and running after them. Witnesses saw Roberts felling him with one blow and then running away.

The friend later told police that Roberts said he had given the victim “a one-bomb” and needed to get out the area.

The fall fractured the back of Mr Garvey’s skull and he was pronounced dead at Wigan Infirmary less than two hours later.

Mr Driver said that after the match in Wigan with friends he had stayed out drinking. He met up with his wife Helen at the Waterside pub in Leigh but left about 2am following a minor disagreement with her. He resolved the disagreement by text while walking towards his home.

Roberts was arrested on March 4 in Birmingham after trying to avoid police by running through the home of an elderly couple and forcing his way onto the roof from where he shouted derogatory remarks about Mr Garvey.

Sentencing him, Mrs Justice Sharpe said that Mr Garvey, described as a loving husband and son and “brilliant dad,” had been acting as a Good Samaritan in walking along with the vulnerable girl.

“Your attack on Mr Garvey was completely unprovoked and he was entirely an innocent victim,” she said.

“It was not an unlucky punch in the course of a spontaneous fight but a wholly unproved hard blow to an innocent man whom you left in the street and have shown precious little if any remorse since.”

She said that Roberts, who had daily substance abuse, has nine convictions in three years escalating in seriousness. “Despite your youth you have already shown a worrying pattern of offending and violent behaviour.”

At the time of the latest offences “you were clearly out of control and had been for some time despite the efforts of your family and others to help,” added the judge.

The court heard that he is intelligent but immature, disruptive, aggressive and abusive and his behaviour on remand has been such that the Young Offenders Institution had asked for him to be moved.

Mrs Justice Sharpe imposed an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a minimum term of four years. “You will only be released when the authorities are satisfied that the risks you now pose are such that you can be safely released.”

Roberts, of George Road, Eddington, Birmingham, showed no sign of emotion as he was led to the cells.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and wounding with intent. The judge lifted a court order banning his identity being released.

After the hearing Senior Investigating Officer Andy Tattersall, from Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incident Team, said: “Stephen was a father and husband and, no doubt, when he saw this young woman looking upset wanted to make sure she was alright - his actions should have been commended - and he certainly should not have been attacked.

“Roberts and his friend might not have intended to cause any harm that night but young men coming-of-age need to realise that their bodies can be powerful weapons and can cause devastating damage like the injuries which ended Stephen Garvey’s life when he hit the ground after just one punch.

“Stephen’s youngest children will grow up not knowing their father and that should weigh heavily on Roberts’ mind for the rest of his life.”

Roberts’s 17-year-old friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given eight months in a young offenders’ institution after admitting wounding at a separate hearing.