THE heartbroken family of a man killed in the street by his wife's secret lover has blamed her for his death.

Andrew Jackson's family also described the six years, nine months sentence handed down to his killer, Cohnor Coleman, as "too short".

Coleman was today found not guilty of murder following a trial at Teesside Crown Court - but he had already admitted manslaughter.

Mr Jackson, 43, from Willow Crescent, Richmond, North Yorkshire, suffered a fatal bleed to the brain and never regained consciousness after being repeatedly punched by Coleman near to the entrance of the Georgian Theatre, in Richmond, on the night of April 25 this year.

Coleman, 24, a haulage worker, of Cookson Way, Brough with St Giles, near Catterick Garrison, was having an affair with Sarah Jackson, who was said to have been unfaithful to her husband a number of times.

Sentencing Coleman, The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said Mr Jackson still had most of his life ahead of him and any sentence he passed would not begin to help the family he had left behind.

Referring to Sarah Jackson, he said: "She may have left this court [after giving evidence] in the belief that she was in some way responsible, but she was not. What happened on the night of April 25 was entirely as a result of your actions."

Following the trial, Mr Jackson's sister Sally Owens said it had been "the wrong sentence and too short, but we cannot change that".

She said: "As a family we did believe the attack on Andrew was murder. He is never coming back, but Cohnor Coleman has his life.

"Andrew's life was taken from us far too soon. As a family how do we come to terms with that loss knowing we will never see him for another birthday, another Christmas or any other family occasion?

"We have received hundreds of cards and letters. Without the support from Andrew's friends, the community of Richmond and Richmond golf club this ordeal would have been much harder to bear."

Ms Owens said the family disagreed with the judge's assertion that no blame should be attached to Sarah Jackson, adding: "As a family we ultimately believe that his wife's actions led to the tragic death of Andrew."

The victim's father Peter Jackson, himself a former police detective, said: "My son Andrew will always be in my heart and always be missed."

The Northern Echo: Andrew Jackson

Mr Jackson was described by family members as a gentle man who hated violence. He was also a motorsport fan who had been due to take his mother to Silverstone to mark her 70th birthday - a trip which will now never happen.

The trial heard that the fatal attack happened when all three had been on a night out in the town during which Coleman, who had previously threatened to knock out his love rival, encountered the victim.

The jury took five hours in total to return a not guilty plea on the charge of murder. When it was read out there was sobbing from the public gallery, but no visible reaction from the defendant who was dressed in a grey suit.

Cairns Nelson, mitigating, said: "He is a young man of previous good character and this will be his first sentence of imprisonment.

"However it is accepted it was not a one punch manslaughter, it was much more serious than that."

Judge Bourne-Arton said: "Andrew Jackson was a thoroughly decent man. There had been strains within his marriage, but he was dealing with those with dignity and calmness.

"You were not so calm and are a thoroughly selfish, immature individual."

The judge said Coleman's claims that he had no issue with Andrew Jackson, a former assistant golf professional and HGV driver, were "hollow and false".

He said: "Andrew Jackson was in no way a threat to you. I do not believe your claim that he came at you.

"You attacked him because you were angry and frustrated. You immediately struck him a forceful blow and in my view he was almost immediately unconscious and on the ground when you delivered a minimum of four or five blows."

The judge said Coleman had shown little or no remorse for his actions.

Detective Chief Inspector Allan Harder, of North Yorkshire Police, who led the investigation, said: “Andrew Jackson suffered an untimely and tragic death which has caused untold suffering and heartache for his family and friends.

“Andrew’s loved-ones will gain little comfort from the outcome at court. Nothing will bring him back to them. I just hope they can now begin the long process of coming to terms with their loss and proudly keep Andrew’s memory alive.”

  • Cohnor Coleman was almost the exact opposite of the man he killed, immature, irresponsible and impetuous. Stuart Arnold reports.

COHNOR Coleman boasted of his affair with Sarah Jackson, despite it only lasting a matter of days and he conveniently ignored the fact that he already had an existing girlfriend.

For the woman who was 14 years Coleman's senior it was plain the relationship was only physical and not serious, meaningful, or loving.

But Coleman failed to see this. He wanted more and saw the victim, Sarah's wife Andrew, as a potential obstacle to the pair having a future together, having wrongly believed they were to move in with each other.

His rapidly rising frustrations were added to when he saw Mrs Jackson with another man before the fatal attack.

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said Coleman had a "inflated view of his own importance" and had made "grandiose claims" about the relationship.

His ego was such that he in his own words thought he was the "big man", the judge said.

In his evidence the defendant, who babysat for Mrs Jackson as a child, said he had always had a "secret crush" on her.

The Northern Echo: Sarah Jackson

They grew closer when they met while playing badminton and Coleman said "friendly banter turned into flirty bonding".

He said: "I fell for the woman, I was serious about her. She told me that I was hers and that she was mine, that I was her partner."

Coleman said Sarah Jackson told him she was divorced - but this wasn't true - she was still married, although the marriage had a number of problems which Mr Jackson was diligently working through.

Asked for her view on Coleman and how the family of Andrew Jackson would cope in his absence, the victim's mother Rosemarie (correct) Bennett said outside court: "He would have wanted us to get on with our lives and not end up all bitter and twisted like Cohnor Coleman was.

"His mum can still go see him in prison. I can't see my son can I?"

Detective Chief Inspector Allan Harder, of North Yorkshire, who led the investigation, said “Cohnor Coleman flew into a jealous rage that night and violently took out his frustration on Andrew for no justifiable reason.

"It was an unprovoked, brutal and unnecessary attack. Tragically, Andrew found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time."