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Man jailed after pleading guilty to manslaughter

A man has been jailed after punching a man to death over a £25 debt.

Mitchell Thorpe, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter after striking Craig Parker in the face with a single punch last year.

The assault happened in Stockwood Road, in Bristol, shortly before 11pm on Wednesday 25 March.

CCTV pictures showed a Audi drive up near to Mr Parker, who was on a bike. Thorpe was seen to exit the passenger side of the car and strike the victim before leaving the scene in the same vehicle.

Mr Parker, 45, was taken to hospital but died of his injuries on Tuesday 7 April.

The Major Crime Investigation Team led the subsequent enquiries and discovered text messages between the pair over the unpaid debt. They also spoke to witnesses who had heard Thorpe make threats over the money he was owed.

Thorpe, of Great Hayles Road in Hengrove, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today (Monday 15 February) to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of manslaughter at a hearing last month.

His partner, Sophie George, who lived with Thorpe, admitted one charge of perverting the course of justice at the same hearing. She lied to police and claimed Thorpe was at home the night Mr Parker was attacked. The 24-year-old received a nine-month suspended sentence and was ordered to carry out 70 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Parker’s family, through a statement provided to the court, said Thorpe ‘destroyed all our lives that night’.

They said: “The night of the 25 March 2020 is the night that changed our lives for ever. Mitchell Thorpe took someone precious away from his family and friends.

 “To say we are heartbroken is an understatement. Craig was ours, he was a son, a brother, an uncle, a father and a friend and Thorpe took him away from his family, where he belongs.

“We will never see that beautiful cheeky smile of his. We will never see his beautiful blue eyes. We will never be able to have another birthday or Christmas with him. He will never see his children grow up into adults, get married and have children of their own.

“The sentence today will not bring Craig back but we hope it will keep Mitchell Thorpe from committing such an heinous crime again and to save another family of having to experience what we have had to go going through by his hands ever again, all for the measly amount of money of £25.”

Senior Investigating Officer DI Roger Doxsey said: “Craig Parker still had so much of his life ahead of him, and his family have been caused such unnecessary pain and suffering. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to them and we continue to offer them support at this difficult time.

“Mitchell Thorpe senselessly killed his victim over a very small sum of money and refused to own up to his actions until the police obtained overwhelming levels of evidence.

“Sophie George also proceeded to lie repeatedly in an attempt to cover over the truth and prevent justice being served.  

“It was only with the help of some brave members of the community, that the evidence built up so clearly, to leave these defendants no real option but to plead guilty.

“This has been a lengthy investigation but we welcome the prison sentence handed to Mitchell Thorpe today and the knowledge he cannot cause further harm to people’s lives.”