A Rochdale man was jailed today for the manslaughter of a teenage Royal Marine – who died after a single punch to the face when trying to break up an argument.
Wesley Clutterbuck, 19, died after being punched in the face outside a pub in Rochdale town centre.
Reece Kay, 20, was sentenced to four years in prison for the attack, which caused his victim to suffer a fatal head injury.
Branch Crown Prosecutor Elizabeth Reed told the court: “A young man, who was loyally serving our country, has lost his life in this senseless and unprovoked attack which clearly demonstrates the cost of just one punch.”
Kay, of Waithlands Road, admitted assaulting Mr Clutterbuck by punching him once in the face and knocking him to the ground outside the Yates Public House, Fleece Street, on Saturday June 29.
Police and paramedics were called to the scene, but Mr Clutterbuck died in hospital on the Sunday afternoon.
Manchester Crown Court heard that Mr Clutterbuck was on leave from the Royal Marine Commandoes at the time of the attack.
Mr Clutterbuck was home on leave from the Royal Marines and had attended a friend’s funeral before going out with friends on the evening of the attack.
The court heard that around 3am Mr Clutterbuck had intervened in an argument between a man and a woman. Kay, (pictured left) who was also on a night out with friends, saw this and began to argue with Mr Clutterbuck.
Mr Clutterbuck tried to walk away from the scene by attempting to cross the street, but Kay – who had struggled away from the restraining grip of his friends – chased after him.
Ms Reed said: “Kay ran towards the victim, who was a complete stranger to him, with a clenched fist and punched him once to the head causing him to fall over and hit his head on the pavement. He then turned and ran from the scene showing complete disregard to the harm he had caused.
“No sentence can make up for the devastation and loss to Wesley’s friends and family; our thoughts are with them at this time.”
Kay later admitted to the crime and pleaded guilty to manslaughter at an earlier hearing.
Paying tribute to Mr Clutterbuck, his family described him as ‘our life’.
“With his life being taken away from us we will never be truly happy again,” they said in a statement.
“If you are prepared to go out and take someone else’s life then you should be prepared to accept the sentence of life yourself.
“We will live with this pain forever and so should he. This man will be out in four years, what kind of message does this give to other young people who are out this weekend?”
In the statement Mr Clutterbuck’s family thank the community of Whitworth, the Police, the Royal Marines, family and friends for ‘unwavering support during this difficult time’.
Senior Investigating Officer Duncan Thorpe from the Major Incident Team, said: “Wesley’s parents, family and friends were all extremely proud of his achievements; to lose a loved one in this way is totally devastating.
“Whatever sentence is imposed it will not compensate for their loss.”