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Home Canterbury News Article
Two men have today been jailed for the brutal killing of "gentle" alcoholic David Wilkes after an attack in a Canterbury park.
Lloyd Thorne, who changed his plea to guilty to manslaughter in the middle of his trial, was given a nine-and-a-half-year sentence.
And the man who "recruited him" for the gratuitous attack, 51-year-old Peter Clement, was sent to prison for 10 years after being found guilty by the jury.
He said: "He told me that he wasn't prepared to go into the witness box and lie."
The jury had heard how Mr Wilkes had been sitting quietly on a bench with friend Ann Bailes and her son in July when Clement started an argument.
Alcoholic Clement - who knew his victim - said he had downed 15 cans of Special Brew lager before the attack.
The judge told him that because of his addiction he saw things "differently than most people".
She added: "I have no doubt that in your drunken state you misread or misinterpreted something that was said to you. I also have no doubt that you wanted to pick a fight."
Clement went up to Mr Wilkes and accused him of hitting his friend Ms Bailes - calling him "a nonce" - a word usually meaning a child molester.
"Finally you delivered a punch of such force it knocked Mr Wilkes to the ground where he struck his head."
Mr Wilkes was taken to hospital with a severe head wound and died six days later from his injuries - causing shock and grief to his friends and family.
Clement later told police he had "bashed" his victim "because he was a nonce".
Video: Police at the scene of the Dane John Gardens attack
DCI Dave Chewter, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was an unprovoked and violent assault with tragic circumstances.
"Both Thorne and Clement were responsible for Mr Wilkes' death and will be able to contemplate their actions where they belong – in prison."
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