SWIFT JUSTICE

By Helen Gavaghan, Bradford Crown Court, UK. 7th October, 2019.

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In a little under two hours a jury at Bradford Crown Court this afternoon found Mr Nicholas J Gill (21) guilty of the murder of Mr Paul Bell (58). The crime took place late evening in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire on 30th September, 2018. Mr Bell died 54 days after sustaining serious injuries. The guilty verdict was reached despite Mr Bell having said during a short period of lucidity that his injuries resulted from a fall rather than being consequential of assault by Mr Gill. The Court heard compelling forensic evidence that, in fact, Mr Bell was the victim of serious assault, resulting in widespread injuries, including of the brain, which led to death.

The trial judge, Judge Jonathan Durham-Hall QC, imposed a mandatory life sentence, with a minimum term of 21 years. Mr Gill will serve concurrent sentences for attempted robbery and two counts of carrying a knife. The defence sought no reports from probation or psychiatrists. During his summing up the judge had spoken of Mr Gill as having said he had not eaten for the day prior to the assault leading to Mr Bell's death. In a brief exchange with the judge prior to sentencing the defence acknowledged Mr Gill's lack of mature behaviour. In sentencing Mr Gill the judge said he had no doubt Mr Gill had no money. In his summing up the judge had spoken of Mr Gill having acknowledged that he (Mr Gill) experienced depression and anger management issues. Mr Gill had been unable to find work.

The fatal events happened after Mr Bell had been for an evening out with a friend in the nearby town of Hebden Bridge. The judge spoke of Mr Bell as having been a kind person.

The judge thanked the officer in the case, Detective Constable Warren Gray. The senior investigating officer, detective superintendent Mark Swift, was in Court, and said afterwards the judge's thanks to the attending officers would be passed on.

To the jury his honour said, "You dealt with your responsibility magnificently."

Pre-publication for Issue 4 (Oct. - Dec.) 2019 of Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598X (online)

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*Published first online at 17.00, on 7th October, 2019. On this occasion when the item is published in
Science, People & Politics the names of the defendant and victim will NOT be removed. Helen Gavaghan, Editor. 17th October, 2019.
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