THE grieving family of a dad killed by a vicious Poole cage fighter are today calling for the sport to be regulated or even banned.
Speaking after killer Damon Wright was jailed for 10 years, they said those practising it should be vetted to avoid violent criminals taking it up.
A trial at Winchester Crown Court heard how Wright pulled on his eight ounce cage fighting gloves before sneaking up on Kevin Wyeth in a dark alleyway in Woolston, Southampton.
He then hit the Saints groundsman and dad of three with such “severe force” that his face shattered and his brain was left “significantly damaged”.
The injuries were so severe that Kevin’s own family struggled to identify him after he was found dead last August.
During his trial, Poole man Wright, who is trained in eight different martial arts disciplines, admitted that he had delivered the blows that killed the dad-of-three, saying that he threw with “everything” he had.
Wright, 32, who was medically discharged from the Army when he was 18, himself admitted in court that he had a short fuse and that he had lost his temper when he didn’t get his own way.
With such a violent background, Kevin’s family are amazed that he was allowed to take part in cage fighting, which they believe turned his fists into a lethal weapon.
Dad Kevin said: “Any other martial arts you have to have a licence. He should never have been able to join a club. He gives a bad name to martial arts.”
Along with mum Linda Timberlake, he feels it should even be banned.
Linda said: “You can’t justify the fact that people are willing to break arms and go unconscious. It’s laughable.”
Wright was cleared of the charge of murder by a majority decision from the jury, but they did not accept his claim that he acted in self-defence when he carried out the vicious attack.
During sentencing, Wright showed no emotion as he stood in the dock dressed in a dark suit and tie.
Speaking about the sentence, Linda said it was the best that could be given after the manslaughter verdict.
The family had wanted a conviction for murder and a life sentence.
She said: “I would have liked it to be a murder charge. I think he was guilty of that, there’s no question of that.
“This chap is a danger to the public with 32 previous convictions and a lot for violence and the fact he did cage fighting demonstrates he would was a violent man. Nothing will bring back my son.”
Holding back tears, Sister Leanne said: “He (Wright) should never be allowed out again, I hope he rots. It’s been devastating.”
A post mortem revealed that Kevin suffered “appalling” injuries, including multiple fractures to his face, including his jaw in pieces on both sides and even the small bone at the base of his tongue was broken.