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25 August 2011, 13:15
A Sheffield man's been jailed for life for the murder of Thomas Gower.
20 year old Bradley Hinkler has been told he'll spend at least 16 years behind bars.
26-year-old dad-of-two Gower was assaulted outside the Alibi Bar, on Holly Street, Sheffield, on Saturday,18 December, 2010. He died eight days later, on 26 December, in the city’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
Hinkler, of Kilvington Road, Woodthorpe, Sheffield, was found guilty of his murder and of committing grievous bodily harm against another man, Richard Howard.
South Yorkshire Police Detective Superintendent Andy Thompson, the senior investigating officer in the case, said:
'The defendant, Bradley Hinkler, was out with his friends in Sheffield city centre on the Saturday evening before Christmas last year and was clearly intending to get involved in violence. As an experienced and talented amateur boxer, he should have known better.
'At the drop of a hat, Hinkler started to become involved in a disturbance that started inside the Alibi Bar on Holly Street, and was captured on CCTV directing well-aimed punches. Hinkler continued to conduct himself in this manner outside the premises where he knocked out cold another man (Richard Howard,) enjoying the accolade from his friends.
'Hinkler then chased and punched Thomas Gower, for no apparent reason, and knocked him to the ground, leaving him lying in the street unconscious, before returning to his friends smirking. These events were witnessed by numerous members of the public queuing up to get into the bar and also captured on CCTV.
'Despite valiant efforts by members of the public who gave first aid to Thomas Gower until paramedics arrived, he never gained consciousness and sadly died of his injuries in hospital eight days later.
'Thomas Gower was a hard-working family man of good character, the father to two young boys. Clearly, his family are still devastated by their loss.
'The trial jury sat for over two weeks at Sheffield Crown Court and listened to both the prosecution and defence cases in great detail. On the conclusion of their deliberations they unanimously found Bradley Hinkler guilty of both GBH with intent, and guilty of the murder of 26-year-old, Thomas Gower. Let's not forget that Bradley Hinkler had assaulted at least two other men, knocking one of them unconscious, prior to punching Thomas Gower, a blow that ultimately led to his death.
'South Yorkshire Police fully support and assist in promoting activities for young people including boxing clubs. Such clubs provide a positive contribution to local communities and assist young people in many ways. There is no excuse, however, for using learnt sports skills to assault other people as Bradley Hinkler is now learning to the cost of his liberty.
Thomas Gower’s parents, Keith and Susan Gower, said:
'No sentence, no matter how long, will ever bring Thomas back to us. It is a loss that family and friends will have to learn to live with for the rest of our lives.
'We can only hope that a lesson can be learned from the events of 18 December, 2010, and that is that young men start to realise that the answer to their differences and disputes is not achieved by violence, it only results in tragedy.
'We would like to thank South Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their hard work in investigating this case and bringing it in front of the courts. Thanks to the witnesses who gave statements and those who have attended and courageously given evidence.
'Also a big thank you to those that administered first aid to Thomas on that night. We are comforted by the fact that he was with loving people that cared about him.'