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Liam Holden death: Owen Wood found guilty of manslaughter
3:00pm Friday 4th October 2013 in News
TWO brothers embraced in the dock and blew kisses to their family in the public gallery as they were cleared of murder following a two-week trial.
Owen Wood, 24, of Godman Road, Chadwell St Mary was found guilty of manslaughter after an attack on father-of-one Liam Holden in Grays, on Sunday, March 10.
Wood’s younger brother Ryan, 21, was also standing trial for murder but the jury found him not guilty.
The jury’s majority verdict came after it had spent roughly six hours deliberating.
Owen nodded as the jury foreman announced the verdict while Mandy Patient, Mr Holden’s partner of 15 years - who was forced to watch as he was beaten to death on that fateful night - shrieked before leaving the court in tears.
Mr Holden had been in the Euro Lounge club in Grays with Miss Patient and was leaving when Owen Wood punched him to the floor, having followed him away from the club, and proceeded to kick him.
Mr Holden died of diffuse axinol injuries - a lethal type of traumatic brain damage.
Mr Holden and Miss Patient has been out celebrating a friend’s birthday on Saturday, March 9 but had left the Euro Lounge nightclub after a toilet door had been kicked-in whilst Miss Patient was using it. Mr Holden had confronted the owner of the club, Sonny Miller, before leaving with his partner and heading home.
Mr Holden had returned to the club alone, seconds after leaving, to speak with bouncer Matthew Gold but soon returned to Miss Patient, who was waiting for him by the roundabout at Morrisons, in London Road.
Defence lawyers said Mr Holden had been spoiling for a fight outside the club, before walking away.
CCTV images showed two men leaving the club after Mr Holden shortly before he was attacked.
Owen Wood admitted punching and kicking Mr Holden, but said he was acting in ‘self defence’ and ‘never intended to kill him.’ He said he had been punched by Miss Patient and held in a headlock by Mr Holden. He said his brother wasn’t involved.
Ryan Wood, who chose not to give evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court, handed himself in to police the following day and his brother was arrested on Friday, March 15 in Grimsby, having run away, saying “I panicked, I heard the man died.”
Owen Wood has previous convictions for attacking a man in 2006 and attacking a man with a machete in 2007, when he was jailed in the high-security Belmarsh Prison.
Owen Wood will be sentenced on Monday, November 11. Judge Charles Gratwicke said he would need to “find out more” about Owen before sentencing.