Jail for man who killed OAP with single punch

PUBLISHED: 12:37 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:50 25 August 2010

A THUG who killed a pensioner with a single punch has been jailed for four years.

A THUG who killed a pensioner with a single punch has been jailed for four years.

Billy Williams, 24, of Luddesdon Road, Erith, lashed out because of a "perceived lack of respect" shown by 64-year-old Charles Campbell.

The Scottish victim toppled over a wall, cracking his head on the ground. He suffered brain injuries which led to his death the following day.

Williams insisted he was defending himself from Mr Campbell, claiming he went for him with a bottle but he was convicted of manslaughter after an Old Bailey trial on Monday.

He was jailed for four years but is expected to serve just half the term.

The row broke out when Williams and three friends, including girls aged 13 and 14, approached Mr Campbell and another man who were drinking on a wall in Bexley Road, Erith, on September 28, last year.

One of the group asked for a swig from Mr Campbell's bottle, gulping down a slug of brandy.

Prosecutor Hugh Davies said: "Mr Campbell stood up and said words to the effect of 'you're taking the p***'."

The court heard Williams stepped in and told Mr Campbell to shut up but when the victim said "you're just a boy", the thug snapped and punched the man in the face.

Mr Davies said: "Mr Campbell used words intended to put this defendant down in front of his friends.

"For this perceived lack of respect he was punched. The defendant's instinct was unhappily to meet a perceived put down, in jargon a 'lack of respect', with violence.

"And a man died because of his desire not to lose face in front of others, including teenagers he was hanging around with.

"It was an angry, ugly and for him instinctive reaction to being put down. Probably not helped by the fact he had been drinking."

Mr Campbell, born in Paisley, Glasgow, was married for 27 years before he split up with his wife in 1996 because of his heavy drinking.

Before his death he worked for Base Enamellers in Slade Green Road.

Defending Williams, Stephen Bailey told the court the killer has been haunted by nightmares since Mr Campbell's death.

He said: "He struggles to sleep and suffers from depression. He does feel genuine remorse. Events went too far with this single punch.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bexley Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Bexley Times