Ilford teenager jailed over commuter’s manslaughter

Stratford station

Stratford station - Credit: Archant

An Ilford teenager who killed a commuter at Stratford station has today been jailed for two years and nine months.

The Old Bailey heard how the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was with a group who blocked John Francis Breen’s path on the escalator on October 27 last year.

Mr Breen, 53, reacted to the teasing by throwing the first punch and was then set upon by the group, the court was told.

As he was helped to his feet by other commuters, the 17 year-old punched him in the face, causing him to fall backwards and crack his head on the floor.

Mr Breen, a labourer, died in hospital the following day after suffering fatal head injuries.

The teenager had originally been charged with murder but the prosecution accepted his plea of manslaughter at a previous hearing.

During the sentencing, Judge Mark Lucraft QC said he reduced the sentence from five years and six months because of the plea and the fact the youth was 16 at the time.

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He said: “This was violence in public in an area packed with people. You ran off without trying to assist Mr Breen who was obviously seriously injured.”

A 15 year-old boy, also from Ilford, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm for his part in the initial attack and was sentenced to a referral order for 12 months.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Breen’s sister Angela Adams said: “John Breen was a wonderful son, brother and uncle.

“This senseless act has caused shockwaves of grief and loss throughout the family.

“It all seems so wrong. We just want our brother back.”

Friends of Mr Breen, who were in the gallery, shouted their frustration at the sentence as the 17-year-old was taken down to the cells.