Five thugs jailed for life for murdering young dad Reece Cox outside Wetherspoons as he tried to help pal

FIVE thugs have been jailed for life today for murdering young dad Reece Cox outside a Wetherspoons pub as he tried to help a pal.

Mr Cox, 24, was viciously punched and kicked by the gang after they surrounded him "like a pack of animals" before launching their savage attack.

The Good Samaritan dad-of-one had stepped in to help a friend being assaulted by the yobs outside The Clifton pub, in Sedgley, West Mids., on August 15 last year.

Reece was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering serious head injuries despite the best efforts of medics to save him.

Shane Jones, 26, Wayne Burke, 23, Shaquel Halliday, 22, Adam Ashwin, 20 and Sebastian Jones, 19, were found guilty of his murder and were jailed for life today.

The men received minimum terms ranging from 16-and-a-half years to 18 years.

Ryan Nickin, 22, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

During the trial, jurors were told how Reece had been on a night out with friends and they headed to get some food before going home.

The trio of pals set off towards a taxi rank when one of them accidentally bumped into a teenager called Joe Williams.

The group, who were "out looking for a fight", attacked one of the men, with Ashwin dragging him into the road and back towards the pub.

The court heard Reece – described as a man 'who would always step in to help if he didn't like what he saw' – stepped in to try and defuse the situation.

Ashwin and his friends then turned their attention to Reece and violently beat him to death.

A post mortem revealed that Reece died from blunt trauma to his head.

All six were also convicted of violent disorder and causing actual bodily harm.

Two other men Tyrone Halliday, 24, and Joe Williams, 18, pleaded guilty to affray and causing actual bodily harm.


Following the verdict, Reece's family paid tribute in a statement issued by police and said: "Reece was a gentle giant.

"Never aggressive but would step up and front anything that wasn't right. He would always go out of his way to help others.

"Reece's partner and son have had their whole future as a family taken away from them.

"On the day he died, it was the couple's six year anniversary of when they first met and what would and should have been a happy and special day, but now it will be a sad and permanent reminder of his horrific and senseless killing year after year.

"Reece and his son had an amazing bond and he is our constant reminder of Reece.

"It has broken our hearts to see the torment he has had to go through, losing his dad at the age of four.

"Reece was a hero that night and lost his life saving someone else's. We still cannot believe he has gone and think about him every single day."

Detective Inspector Laura Harrison, from West Midlands Police's Homicide Team, said: "What is so upsetting about what happened to Reece is that anyone could have been him that night.

"He was simply on a night out with friends and tried to intervene in a fight that cost him his life.

"Reece was an innocent member of the public who wasn't out to cause trouble, he simply wanted to enjoy a night out.

"These six men were out looking for a fight that night and an accidental knock as someone walked past them is all it took to set them off.

"I can't imagine what Reece's family are going through in what has been a difficult year for all, let alone a family who had their son, father and partner taken away from them so cruelly.

"Although no sentence will ever bring Reece back, I hope they can gain some closure from this knowing that those that caused Reece's death have been brought to justice."

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