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Man jailed for Jubilee party manslaughter

November 20, 2012, 4:56 pm

A man has today, Tuesday 20 November, been jailed for three years after a punch-up at a Jubilee party ended in the death of a father-of-three.

Liam Smith, 26 (8.9.86), of Thorndon Close, Orpington, was sentenced at the Old Bailey having previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of James Harris-Durkin and perverting the course of justice.

Leanne Turner, 25 (29/4/87), also of Thorndon Close, Orpington – and Smith’s partner – received six months imprisonment suspended for two years and 200 hours community service have also admitted perverting the course of justice.

Police were called at 03:30hrs on Tuesday, 5 June to reports of a man collapsed in Court Road, Orpington.

The 21-year-old was taken by ambulance to the Royal London Hospital, where he died that evening.

He was James Harris-Durkin, unemployed, from Eastbourne.

A post-mortem examination at the Princess Royal Hospital mortuary gave cause of death as a deep brain bleed linked to blunt force trauma.

Father-of-three James had travelled from Eastbourne to Orpington to attend a funeral and on Monday, 4 June attended a Jubilee celebration barbecue with friends and family in Court Road. The suspects were also there, although not known to James.

During the party James became involved in an altercation. It flared up again later in the evening and a fight began between Smith and the victim, who subsequently suffered fatal injuries from two blows.

Before being identified as suspects, Smith and Turner gave statements to police saying they had left the party before the fight took place. However, their lies led to charges of perverting the course of justice as well as Smith being charged with murder on 12 June.

A plea to manslaughter was later accepted by the prosecution.

Detective Sergeant Larry Deabreu, the investigating officer, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “The victim had been enjoying the Jubilee celebrations along with millions across the country when an altercation led to his untimely death.

“We are satisfied with today’s conviction for manslaughter.”

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