Manslaughter charge is downgraded to assault following death of Northampton man

Northampton man Robert Gardner, above, died shortly after being assaulted in June last year. However it could not be proved the punch directly caused Mr Gardner's death.
Northampton man Robert Gardner, above, died shortly after being assaulted in June last year. However it could not be proved the punch directly caused Mr Gardner's death.
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A 43-year-old who originally faced a manslaughter charge when a Northampton man he punched in a fight died - has been sentenced to eight months for assault.

Robert Spearman, of Highfield Close, Brixworth had originally been charged with the manslaughter of Robert Gardner.

On the first day of trial at Northampton Crown Court on Monday (February 6) the defence accepted Spearman had assaulted Mr Gardner by punching him to the face and causing him to fall and hit his head. But it could not be confirmed it was this injury that caused his death.

Mr Gardner was assaulted on Thursday, June 9, in Boughton Green Road, Kingsthorpe and died at Northampton General Hospital on Friday, June 24.

Detective Inspector Stuart Hitchin, from the Northamptonshire Police's Major Crime Team, said: “This has been a complicated case and determining the cause of injury in such cases is never easy.

“We accept the decision of the court and hope this provides some closure for the family and helps them to move on from what has been a very tragic and upsetting time for them."

Spearman was arrested on suspicion of assaulting Mr Gardner in June, 2016, but was released on police bail.

He was re-arrested by Northamptonshire Police in September last year, with the force claiming “medical evidence” linked the assault to Mr Gardner’s death more than two months earlier.