A drunken thug killed a father-of-two out celebrating his birthday with a single punch, a court heard.
Samuel Thorpe, 26, was found guilty of the manslaughter of the 45-year-old Cheshire businessman Adam Lovatt today (October 22) at Liverpool Crown after a 10-day trial.
He will be sentenced on 26 November.
A trial originally took place in January 2020, but a verdict could not be reached and Thorpe was today found guilty following a retrial which started on October 11, CheshireLive reported.
The incident which lead to the death of Adam Lovatt happened in the early hours of Friday, May 25, 2018, outside the Bridge Inn, on Shropshire Street in Crewe.
Mr Lovatt had been spending the evening celebrating his birthday with his wife at the Lord Combermere pub in Audlem village.
He decided to carry on his evening at the Shroppie Fly, on Audlem Wharf, when his wife went home.
While he was at the pub, another man in the bar who objected to his presence there, tried to assault Mr Lovatt but others in the bar intervened.
Almost immediately Mr Lovatt left the pub and started to walk back towards Shropshire Street.
After he left the pub, Thorpe and his co-defendant Nicholas Hill also left the pub and set off in order to catch up with Mr Lovatt.
Thorpe caught up with him next to the Bridge Inn whilst Hill made his way around the back of the building in a bid to cut him off.
Thorpe confronted Mr Lovatt outside the Bridge Inn, punching him once to the face. He fell backwards, striking his head on the ground suffering two skull fractures and a large bleed on the brain. He died later that day.
After the assault, Hill approached Thorpe who was trying to rouse Mr Lovatt, who was unconscious with blood coming from his head. Thorpe then told Hill to go back to the pub, which he did.
As a passing motorist pulled up to check on Mr Lovatt, Thorpe ran away and went back to the Shroppie Fly. The motorist called an ambulance and a number of people who had been drinking at the pub came out and tried to help the victim.
Meanwhile and in order to evade police attention, Thorpe and Hill drove away from the scene through quiet country lanes to Market Drayton where they bought lager before they went back to Hill’s house.
There they agreed on a cover story and both made attempts to distance themselves from what occurred.
The following day Thorpe, knowing that the police may be looking for him, threw his phone away and left the area to stay in a guest house in North Wales overnight, only returning when police attended at his parents’ address to arrest him.
Detectives from Cheshire Constabulary’s Major Investigation Team launched an investigation following the death and the pair were arrested two days later.
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In a heartfelt tribute to her ‘amazing husband’ who ‘made life better in every way’, Adam’s wife, Clare Lovatt spoke about the trauma his ‘senseless and tragic death’ has caused her in the three-and-a-half years the trial has been in court.
Clare Lovatt said: “The immense loss I have experienced from losing Adam my amazing Husband cannot be underestimated. His senseless and tragic death has caused me so much trauma over the last three-and-a-half years.
“As a nurse I have only ever wanted to help people, as a mother I only ever wanted a good life for our boys and for them to grow in a nurturing, respectful environment. Adam’s love and support gave us all of this.
“Having Adam literally ‘ripped’ out of our lives and my future stolen is too much for anyone to bear. I am no longer the person I was whilst he was alive. Adam loved and married me because of my values in caring for others because we were both ‘good’ people.
“Adam was a true family man, being a good husband and father were extremely important values to him as well as working hard and making an honest living. We enjoyed simple things like family meals – always cooked by Adam.
“He did lovely things for me like running a hot bath, putting out candles and having a meal cooked for me when I got in late from a nursing shift. He made life better in every way.”
Detective Inspector Adam Waller, who led the investigation into the death, said: “Adam’s life was tragically cut short with just one punch. It’s a stark reminder to people that that the decision to strike out at someone in anger could change lives instantly.
“Adam’s family are grieving and trying to come to terms with life without a loved one and other families will have to come to terms with their loved ones having been convicted and facing the prospect of time behind bars – all because of one punch on a night out.
“Adam was callously left lying fatally injured in the road until a passing motorist summonsed professional medical help.
“Neither Thorpe or Hill made any attempts to look after anyone else but themselves in making their escape and attempting to cover their tracks. The attempts to besmirch Adam’s character throughout the trial have been distressing for Adam’s family to have had to bear witness to, and thankfully have had no bearing on the outcome.”
Nicolas Hill, 37, of Moorsfield Avenue, Audlem, was found not guilty of manslaughter but had already pleaded guilty to assisting an offender at an earlier hearing. He will also be sentenced on 26 November.