A MAN knocked out by an amateur boxer who murdered a Sheffield dad with a single punch has been handed a suspended jail term after he initially refused to give evidence at the killer’s trial.
Richard Howard, aged 42, of Helmton Road, Woodseats, had been hit by 20-year-old Bradley Hinkler, shortly before Hinkler landed a fatal blow on Thomas Gower outside the Alibi bar, at the junction of Trippet Lane and Holly Street in Sheffield city centre.
Howard believed Hinkler, of Kilvington Road, Woodthorpe, was responsible for injuring two of his pals in a brawl inside Alibi on December 18 last year.
Jurors convicted Hinkler of grievous bodily harm with intent against Howard, as well as the murder of Mr Gower, by unanimous verdict.
But during Hinkler’s trial, Judge Simon Lawler QC had to issue a bench warrant for Howard’s arrest after he failed to attend court to give evidence.
Before the warrant was made over the contempt of court, Nick Clarke QC, prosecuting, said officers visited Howard’s house and workplace, as well as phoning him numerous times.
But they were unable to trace the missing witness.
Howard - who jurors heard was linked with the Blades Business Crew, a notorious gang of football hooligans associated with Sheffield United - was eventually brought to court and took the stand more than a week into the proceedings.
Judge Lawler sentenced Howard to four months’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to pay £300 prosecution costs, which he will pay back at £20 per month.
Howard also has to comply with a residence requirement and live at Helmton Road for three months.
Hinkler, who faces life behind bars, will be sentenced next week.