Cage fighter Damon Wright jailed for 10 years for manslaughter of Kevin Wyeth

Call for cage fighting to be banned as Damon Wright jailed for 10 years for manslaughter

Damon Wright

Kevin Wyeth

First published in News
Last updated
by , Chief Reporter

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.

Comments (12)

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1:00pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Huey says...

He should have been done for murder.
Sentencing, judge Guy Boney said "You are an experienced cage fighter and I have some experience"
A cage fighting judge? Brilliant, when's the next match? Is Wiggsy involved?
He should have been done for murder. Sentencing, judge Guy Boney said "You are an experienced cage fighter and I have some experience" A cage fighting judge? Brilliant, when's the next match? Is Wiggsy involved? Huey
  • Score: 21

2:36pm Fri 25 Apr 14

ASM says...

it was planned and wasn't self defence, maybe he didn't mean to kill him, but you know that you can kill people with violence especially if you are a cage fighter. 10 years is at least a bit more lengthy than some soft sentence man slaughter charges
it was planned and wasn't self defence, maybe he didn't mean to kill him, but you know that you can kill people with violence especially if you are a cage fighter. 10 years is at least a bit more lengthy than some soft sentence man slaughter charges ASM
  • Score: 12

3:04pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Bob49 says...

Accepting that he did not intend to kill, her certainly intended to cause extreme harm and knew that it was an unequal 'fight', as it was a savage and pre-meditated attack.

On those two latter points the sentence does not seem harsh enough, more so as he could well be in an open prison in a few years.
Accepting that he did not intend to kill, her certainly intended to cause extreme harm and knew that it was an unequal 'fight', as it was a savage and pre-meditated attack. On those two latter points the sentence does not seem harsh enough, more so as he could well be in an open prison in a few years. Bob49
  • Score: 15

3:15pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

I think the other prisoners better treat him nicely.
I think the other prisoners better treat him nicely. Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: -7

5:03pm Fri 25 Apr 14

hooplaa says...

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.”

No you dont!
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.” No you dont! hooplaa
  • Score: 1

5:08pm Fri 25 Apr 14

billy bumble says...

He'll be playing pool and snorting cocaine by now
He'll be playing pool and snorting cocaine by now billy bumble
  • Score: 3

5:41pm Fri 25 Apr 14

SeafaringMan says...

I may be naive, but what the ??? is 'cage fighting' - described above as a 'sport'!
I may be naive, but what the ??? is 'cage fighting' - described above as a 'sport'! SeafaringMan
  • Score: 3

5:58pm Fri 25 Apr 14

old duffa says...

he looks like a nutter
but why was poor chap attacked,did i miss that bit
he looks like a nutter but why was poor chap attacked,did i miss that bit old duffa
  • Score: 3

7:11pm Fri 25 Apr 14

master plan says...

Cage fighting is a multi billion pound industry I don't think you can ban a sport just like that. It is sad news that happened but one incident is going to challenge a sport.
Cage fighting is a multi billion pound industry I don't think you can ban a sport just like that. It is sad news that happened but one incident is going to challenge a sport. master plan
  • Score: 1

8:23pm Fri 25 Apr 14

JackJohnson says...

Sir Beachy Head wrote:
I think the other prisoners better treat him nicely.
He's not going to be someone's b*tch, that's for sure.
[quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: I think the other prisoners better treat him nicely.[/p][/quote]He's not going to be someone's b*tch, that's for sure. JackJohnson
  • Score: -2

9:28pm Fri 25 Apr 14

AndyMannBob says...

If the unlawful killing of a person be done with a coincident intention of causing death or inflicting grievous bodily harm, where in fact death results, then the perpetrator is liable to be convicted of murder. The "year and a day" time limit no longer applies. The use of eight ounce fighting gloves and the use of such “severe force” as to shatter the victim's face provide circumstantial evidence of an intention to cause death or inflict GBH. Perhaps the judge knows of some reason why the conviction should be for manslaughter rather than murder.
If the unlawful killing of a person be done with a coincident intention of causing death or inflicting grievous bodily harm, where in fact death results, then the perpetrator is liable to be convicted of murder. The "year and a day" time limit no longer applies. The use of eight ounce fighting gloves and the use of such “severe force” as to shatter the victim's face provide circumstantial evidence of an intention to cause death or inflict GBH. Perhaps the judge knows of some reason why the conviction should be for manslaughter rather than murder. AndyMannBob
  • Score: 4

10:42am Sat 26 Apr 14

mgibbs says...

AndyMannBob wrote:
If the unlawful killing of a person be done with a coincident intention of causing death or inflicting grievous bodily harm, where in fact death results, then the perpetrator is liable to be convicted of murder. The "year and a day" time limit no longer applies. The use of eight ounce fighting gloves and the use of such “severe force” as to shatter the victim's face provide circumstantial evidence of an intention to cause death or inflict GBH. Perhaps the judge knows of some reason why the conviction should be for manslaughter rather than murder.
The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict of guilty on the murder charge. So the judge offered them the option of a verdict of Manslaughter. The reason that the murder verdict could not be reached, was because the prosecution did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Damon Wright intended to kill Mr Wyeth. A successful murder prosecution requires that the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that the attacker acted with deliberate intent to kill, and that they killed their victim unlawfully. A successful manslaughter prosecution only requires that the prosecution proves that the attacker killed their victim unlawfully, no intent to kill needs to be proved. Had the judge not allowed the jury to consider a verdict of manslaughter, then he would have been forced to declare a mis-trial, in which case Mr Wright may have walked free from court with no guarantee of a successful prosecution in the future.
[quote][p][bold]AndyMannBob[/bold] wrote: If the unlawful killing of a person be done with a coincident intention of causing death or inflicting grievous bodily harm, where in fact death results, then the perpetrator is liable to be convicted of murder. The "year and a day" time limit no longer applies. The use of eight ounce fighting gloves and the use of such “severe force” as to shatter the victim's face provide circumstantial evidence of an intention to cause death or inflict GBH. Perhaps the judge knows of some reason why the conviction should be for manslaughter rather than murder.[/p][/quote]The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict of guilty on the murder charge. So the judge offered them the option of a verdict of Manslaughter. The reason that the murder verdict could not be reached, was because the prosecution did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Damon Wright intended to kill Mr Wyeth. A successful murder prosecution requires that the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that the attacker acted with deliberate intent to kill, and that they killed their victim unlawfully. A successful manslaughter prosecution only requires that the prosecution proves that the attacker killed their victim unlawfully, no intent to kill needs to be proved. Had the judge not allowed the jury to consider a verdict of manslaughter, then he would have been forced to declare a mis-trial, in which case Mr Wright may have walked free from court with no guarantee of a successful prosecution in the future. mgibbs
  • Score: 3

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