A TEENAGER who has admitted delivering a number of fatal blows to a father-of-five when he pleaded guilty to manslaughter has today been sentenced.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was ‘bouncing on his toes’ like a boxer when he delivered a number of combination punches to Thomas Mallaby following a dispute on a garage forecourt.

The 40-year-old died two days after the fatal attack took place at the Esso petrol station in Annfield Plain, near Stanley, at 2.40am on Sunday, September 26.

The 16-year-old had been charged with murder but a jury failed to reach a verdict earlier this year and following consultation with Mr Mallaby’s family it was agreed to accept the guilty plea to the lesser offence, Teesside Crown Court heard.

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Peter Makepeace, prosecuting, said the teenager started the violence when he slapped or punched one of the occupants of the car Mr Mallaby was travelling in.

The Northern Echo: The Esso service station at Annfield Plain. Picture: GOOGLEThe Esso service station at Annfield Plain. Picture: GOOGLE

He said: "His response was to punch Mr Mallaby, initially that cause Mr Mallaby to stumble backwards. He then punched him again using a combination left-right blow that cause him to fall backwards in an unrestrained fall."

"As he did so, he hit his head off the doorstep of the car, Mr Mallaby was clearly dazed and struggled to get up from that blow.

"He rolled onto his front to try to get up and he was then kicked twice on the ground by the teenager and those kicks landed in the area of Mr Mallaby's thighs.

"The second kick forced Mr Mallaby back down onto his front. He used the car to get back to his feet, really as soon as he regained his footing, the teenager struck him yet again with a left-right combination punch."

The court heard how Mr Mallaby again fell to the ground in an 'unrestrained, accelerated and unprotected manner'.

Mr Makepeace added: "As he fell back on this occasion, his head struck the concrete floor and as a consequence suffered a substantial brain injury, which in due course proved to be fatal."

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In a powerful victim impact statement, Mr Mallaby’s wife Sarah said: "The reality hits and I feel sick that we will never see him again. My husband, the love of my life, my children's carer, their complete world."

Mrs Mallaby said the impact of her husband's death had resulted in her having to take medication to get through the day.

John Elvidge QC, in mitigation, said: "He is remorseful and very sorry for Thomas Mallaby, his family and for what he has done. He is also very sorry for his own family for what he has done."

The court heard the teenager's age is the 'standout fact' of the case as he is a child.

Mr Elvidge added: "He has no history of aggression in education; there have been no concerns about his behaviour; he has no previous history of offending.

"This youth appears before the court awaiting sentence, inevitably to custody, with great trepidation."

Sentencing the teenager, Judge Howard Crowson said: "You are now 16 but you were 15 when you killed Thomas Mallaby. His wife and five children, and his other family and friends mourn his loss, and they feel understandable anger at what was an unnecessary death.

"There is no sentence that I can impose that can assuage their grief.”

He added: "It is no surprise for me to read that you feel true and deep remorse for the death you caused and that will be a burden that you will carry whilst his family carry the pain of his loss."

The teenager was sentenced to three years and seven months in a young offenders' institute.

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