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Teenager Andre King jailed after single punch killed father-of-three Wayne Chester outside McDonald's in Maidstone

A teenager who killed a father-of-three with a single punch outside a fast food restaurant has been locked up for three years and three months.

Andre King struck out at 50-year-old Wayne Chester when he remonstrated with him and other youths congregating by the doors of McDonald’s in Maidstone.

The victim fell to the ground and died soon afterwards from a combination of brain injury, cardiac arrest and blunt force trauma, and associated complications.

Andre King struck out at 50-year-old Wayne Chester when he after an argument outside McDonald’s in Maidstone. Picture: Kent Police
Andre King struck out at 50-year-old Wayne Chester when he after an argument outside McDonald’s in Maidstone. Picture: Kent Police

King, then aged 16, claimed he felt he was being confronted by Mr Chester, who had been out for the evening with friends and family.

But a judge told him: “If you really felt that you had absolutely no justification whatsoever in so feeling.

“He didn’t raise a hand to you and there is no indication whatsoever he posed any threat to you, and your concocting of certain aspects of what you claimed that night was downright lies.”

Judge Jeremy Carey admitted that family and friends of the victim were unlikely to regard the sentence as “remotely adequate”.

King, who can be identified for the first time after an order banning his identification was lifted, had denied murder and his guilty plea to manslaughter was accepted.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Mr Chester, friend Amanda Perry, his sister and her husband had been to the Duke of Marlborough pub in the town to see a band on the evening of Friday, September 29, last year.

At about 10.10pm, he and Ms Perry walked to McDonald’s in Week Street to get food.

During the evening he was said to have had nine to 10 pints of lager.

Prosecutor Simon Taylor said they had to walk through a group of youths including King to go into the restaurant.

Wayne Chester was killed with a single punch
Wayne Chester was killed with a single punch

After eating, they left and walked back through the group of youths.

As they did so, comments were made to them. They tried to ignore it but then Mr Chester turned back.

King and another teenager approached Mr Chester. King put his left hand out in front of him and then drew back his right arm and punched Mr Chester on the left side of his face.

“Mr Chester had his hands down his side immediately before the blow was struck,” said Mr Taylor.

“Upon being struck, he fell to the ground unconscious. Upon striking the blow, Mr King immediately ran off.”

Mr Taylor said Mr Chester had a faint pulse when police arrived at 10.36pm, but it reduced and became non-existent.

A police officer performed CPR on him and paramedics then assisted.

After about 45 minutes, a faint pulse returned. He was taken to King’s Hospital in London, where he died the next morning.

Funeral for Wayne Chester, a man killed in Week Street with a single punch
Funeral for Wayne Chester, a man killed in Week Street with a single punch

Police later went to King’s home at The Foyer in Church Street and arrested him.

A post mortem report stated that Mr Chester suffered from a number of natural conditions, but did not die from them.

“Rather, he died as a consequence of Mr King’s act of violence,” said Mr Taylor.

King, now 17, had twice served six months detention and training for threatening with an offensive weapon and battery, and possessing an offensive weapon in 2016.

He was on bail for theft at the time of the attack on Mr Chester.

Oliver Saxby, QC, for King, said it was a single punch of moderate force and there were no bone fractures.

The victim – described by one of his children as “One of life’s good guys” - was unsteady on his feet from drinking, but it in no way excused what the teenager did.

“It was a modest punch with tragic and serious consequences,” said Mr Saxby. “It is perfectly clear in interview he made things up about what happened and was said to him.

“This was an impulsive act. It is trite to say it, but it could quite easily have been a case of actual bodily harm.”

“It is perfectly clear in interview he made things up about what happened and was said to him..." - Oliver Saxby QC

Mr Saxby added that King had shown regret and remorse, as well as insight into what happened.

Judge Carey said Mr Chester, a credit controller who lived in Boxley Road, and his group had been out for the evening after work, and had understandably been to pubs in the town.

Large groups of youngsters congregating, he said, could be intimidating if accompanied by loutish behaviour. Older people such as Mr Chester and Ms Perry were entitled to be respected.

King had in an unpremeditated and impulsive way, felled the victim with a single punch.

“You may have been surprised at your ability to do so,” the judge told King. “Irrelevant. It was a very serious criminal act and resulted in what we now see in this courtroom, which is a grieving family and deeply grieving lose friends of a good man.

“It was a needless act of aggression with tragic consequences. It has about it an aggravating feature of street violence in the presence of others, many of them decent people who expect when in Maidstone town centre they won’t be subjected to people punching others to the ground.

“There was absolutely no provocation whatsoever on the part of Wayne Chester.”

Victim impact statements described Mr Chester, whose children were aged 18, 16 and 13, in glowing terms.

“Manslaughter cases are always tragic in their consequences,” the judge continued. “I don’t suppose for one moment the sentence imposed on you will be regarded by family and friends of Wayne Chester as remotely adequate.

“No sentence can restore him to them. The competing circumstances in such cases get no easier with time, and this case is no exception, but the one thing a court is required to recognise is the loss of a life.

“On the other hand, you are a young person as a matter of law and fact. I accept there is at least the beginning of some recognition on your part of the true consequences of your criminal behaviour that night.

“You, however, have a long road to go down before you begin to mature into the real recognition of what you did.”

King will serve half the sentence before being released on licence.

Judge Carey granted an application by media representatives to lift the order which had previously banned identification of King.

The general principle of open justice, he said, fell heavily in favour of lifting the order.

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