Teenager who killed man outside Ipswich takeaway is jailed
Michael Steward and Tom Potter
- Credit: Supplied by family
A teenage killer who searched the pockets of a dying man and was seen laughing over his body has been locked up for nearly four years.
The 17-year-old boy, who can be named for the first time as Andrea Cristea after this newspaper appealed for reporting restrictions to be lifted, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in a young offenders' institution.
Cristea killed 45-year-old Richard Day with a single punch to the neck outside an Ipswich kebab shop.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and violent disorder a week before he and two other teenage boys were due to go on trial last August.
Both co-defendants – then aged aged 16 and 17 – were later acquitted by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court on September 4.
Mr Day, known to his family as Richie, was found laying on the ground outside Kebapizza, in St Matthew’s Street, just after midnight on Sunday, February 23, 2020.
The 45-year-old was pronounced dead at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, 36 hours later.
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According to a pathologist, Mr Day died due to blunt force trauma from one fatal blow – a punch to the left side of the neck – which was followed by a kick and three successive fist blows, then a kick and another kick or stamp.
Cristea, of Freehold Road, Ipswich, who was 16 at the time of Mr Day's death, returned to Ipswich Crown Court for a sentencing hearing, which opened last Thursday and concluded on Monday.
Mr Day, a control engineer for UK Power Networks, had been on his way home after a day out with his brother Kris and friends, attending Ipswich Town’s home fixture with Oxford United, before drinking at the Cock and Pye pub .
He had seen his two other brothers' band perform a gig with their band at Premier Pool Club.
Prosecutor Riel Karmy-Jones QC said Mr Day left the pool club at about 11pm and walked home "a little worse for wear" before encountering three youths in Westgate Street.
She said an altercation or confrontation ensued, resulting in Mr Day bumping into one of the boys before being "set upon" outside Kebabpizza.
Miss Karmy-Jones said the youths walked then away, but returned shortly afterwards and could be seen laughing on CCTV and kicking Mr Day's lifeless body.
She said the 17-year-old then bent down to search through Mr Day's pockets, and that, when confronted and asked by the kebab shop proprietor what he was doing, replied: "Money, money, money."
The group left the scene for a second time as the kebab shop proprietor called for an ambulance, but the 17-year-old returned again to prod Mr Day's body and tap his pockets, before lifting his hands in a "gesture of resignation" and walking away.
Upon his arrest about five hours later, the boy initially claimed to have been asleep at home during the incident, but later admitted being the one shown on CCTV footage and claimed to have acted in self-defence.
The court heard how the boy had previous convictions for robbery, burglary, shoplifting and assault, but had also been identified as a victim in a large number of police reports.
Miss Karmy-Jones also read to the court statements from Mr Day's father, mother and brother, who said their lives would never be the same following his death.
Mary Prior QC, mitigating, said the boy had since been assessed as having an IQ of 66, a learning disability and conduct disorder – none of which were known to education authorities, social services or the youth offending team at the time.
"The difficulty for this young man was that he fitted a type," she added.
"He was Roma, he was plainly disruptive, and his lack of ability in English was put down to an unwillingness to engage."
She said the boy had not pleaded guilty "out of the blue" but following significant negotiation and while maintaining he acted in the belief he was about to be attacked.
She said the incident happened "very quickly indeed", was not premeditated, and that it was Mr Day who walked back towards the group and began physical contact.
Judge Martyn Levett said that every crime which results in a death "leaves families in a bereaved state for many years to come and brings home to everyone, that a killing harms many others around the deceased".
He added: "They all have the sympathy of the court. No sentence of the court can compensate for that loss, and it should not be thought that the sentences I impose are in any sense an attempt to value Mr Richard Day’s life."
Cristea will serve half of his sentence before being released on licence.
Jurors in the trial of the other two boys – both now 17 – were discharged from further deliberations when they found each not guilty of manslaughter but failed to reach a majority verdict in respect of a second charge of violent disorder.
The older of the two boys, a 17-year-old, who accepted kicking Mr Day during the incident, then admitted violent disorder at a subsequent hearing.
He was later sentenced to a 10-month youth rehabilitation order, including 40 hours of unpaid work and a three-month curfew, for punching and kicking a fatally injured Mr Day as he lay unconscious on the ground.
The other boy faces a retrial for violent disorder in August.