A BOGNOR Regis man has been jailed for 12 years for a hit and run collision which claimed the life of a young Pagham man.
Walter Brazil, 42, of Collyer Avenue, had denied murdering 20-year-old Charles Hancock on May 13 of last year after he struck him with his car in Rowan Way, North Bersted.
A jury, at Lewes Crown Court today (Thursday, Febuary 27), cleared him of murder but found him guilty of manslaughter.
The trial heard the two were travelling in Brazil’s Chrysler Voyager around 10pm when there was an argument which led Mr Hancock got out of the car.
The jury heard the pair had argued about some cannabis Brazil was intending to buy. Violence ensued, with both parties suffering some injuries.
After Mr Hancock exited the vehicle Brazil then hit him while he was in a ‘stooped position’ and drove off.
He then returned to his home address where he called police and told them he had hit someone after they walked in front of his car.
He was then arrested at 10.25pm and later charged with murder. He has been in custody since that night.
Mr Hancock, of Nyetimber Lane, was taken to St Richards Hospital, Chichester, but sadly died from a severe head injury in the early hours the following day.
Passing his sentence Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said this was ‘a tragic case with tragic consequences’ and he had no option but to hand down the lengthy term.
“The momentary decision to do what you did resulted in the death of a young man of just 20-years-old. The only mercy is that the deceased was unconscious within seconds and felt no pain,” he said.
Judge Scott-Gall said a moving victim impact statement written by Mr Hancock’s mother Angela showed the lasting effect the tragedy would have on the family.
In the statement, parts of which were read out in court, Mrs Hancock paid tribute to her youngest son, who she said was the family’s practical joker.
“When he walked into a room it lit-up,” she wrote.
She added her family had been robbed of a son, brother and father. “My heart is broken and I cannot get over what has happened,” the court heard.
Philip Bennetts, QC, prosecuting, said members of the Hancock family had been devastated by the loss, with some still crying in their sleep.
Defending William Mousley, QC, said: “He (Brazil) has always accepted responsibility for the death and killing of Charles Hancock, but the issue has been what was in his mind.
“He is not someone who has sought to completely deny or avoid the consequences.
“He is fortunate in a sense that he has a supportive wife and family, six children who have supported him throughout this trial.
“It was a sudden loss of temper a flash of anger.”
The jury reached their unanimous verdict just before 2.30pm. They retired yesterday at 2.22pm.
After the case Detective Inspector Wendy Burton from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: “We are pleased that Charlie’s family have got justice for his death.
“This has been a difficult time for them and our thoughts and sympathies are with them.”