Today Drew Jones, aged 16, of Waunceirch, Neath has been sentenced to four years imprisonment at Swansea Crown Court for the manslaughter of Mark Winchcombe in Neath Abbey on 1st September last year.
Christine, the wife of Mark Winchcombe, has said his death has destroyed and changed her family’s lives forever. In a victim impact statement provided for the court she talks about the impact of Mark’s death which has also included her losing her home and business.
She said: “Mark was a much loved man, he was always on hand to help anybody. That’s what Mark was doing on that fateful night and he paid the ultimate price with his life.
“It is only with the love and support of my wonderful family and friends from the pub that my son and I have got through the last six months.
“We were married for 23 years. Not only did I lose my husband, I lost my best friend and the man I could turn to about anything. He was the protective figure to my son and I – he made us feel safe. He was a loving and generous man, and I saw my whole future with Mark.
“Mark was a proud, loving and supportive father, but he has been taken away from my son who is only 20 years of age. Mark was always very supportive of my son’s education and he is due to graduate in July 2020, which Mark will never get to see.
“Mark was the life and soul of the pub and his death has also had a profound effect on the community. We used to run trips from the pub every year with the community to see concerts in Europe; we would have such a laugh. Since Mark’s death, I have never had so many grown men come up to me and start crying.
“In the days and weeks after his death I found myself thrown into the task of shutting down the business and moving out of the pub, which has been our home together for the last nine years. I have to pass the pub when I visit certain family members, and I find myself being drawn to stare at the pavement where Mark lay.
“Following the incident, Mark’s mum, Joan, never felt that she could go back to her own home by herself. If Joan was ever scared she would ring Mark, but not having Mark around made her feel very vulnerable. Joan used to love her weekly shopping trips, but her health went downhill and she said that she just didn’t care anymore. Joan passed away on the day of the verdict.
“I would like to thank South Wales Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for helping get justice for Mark.”
Detective Superintendent Darren George, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “My thoughts remain with Mark and his family who have shown great dignity and respect during this difficult time. Mark’s life was needlessly cut short after he went to the aid of another person in the street.
“This case yet again sends out a clear message of how disorderly behaviour can end in tragedy. Only one punch was thrown during the incident, unfortunately this proved to be fatal for Mark and has resulted in his family losing a much-loved father and husband. The incident has unfortunately had a profound impact on a number of lives.
“It is clear Mark was well known, liked and respected in the locality, this incident has clearly shocked and saddened the local community and I would like to thank them for their support during our investigation, I sincerely hope the verdict and outcome at court will in some small way help Christine and the rest of Mark’s family bring an element of closure.”