A BOXER who ‘walked away calmly as though nothing had happened’ after murdering a dad-of-two with a punch outside a Sheffield bar has been jailed for 16 years.
Bradley Hinkler’s attack on 26-year-old Thomas Gower - which robbed two little boys of their father - was branded ‘cowardly’ by the judge who locked him up.
Judge Simon Lawler QC said the 20-year-old amateur boxer, from Kilvington Road, Woodthorpe, had been in a ‘violent, aggressive and ugly mood’ when he chased Thomas down the street and used skills learned in the gym to land a punch from behind.
The blow broke the young dad’s jaw and caused him to smash his head on the ground.
Judge Lawler told Sheffield Crown Court it was ‘callous beyond belief’ that - despite knowing Thomas was seriously injured - Hinkler returned to another man he had knocked out moments earlier, kicking him as he lay collapsed.
He said CCTV footage revealed Hinkler had thrown another punch inside the Alibi bar on Trippet Lane before trouble spilled onto the street.
Hinkler used his boxing skills to fell his first victim with a ‘powerful blow to the head’ before turning his attention to Thomas, from Gleadless.
Judge Lawler told Hinkler: “Knowing what you were capable of, if you did not know before, you pursued a very frightened Thomas Gower.
“He had shown you no violence whatsoever. Self defence did not arise at all - you struck him from behind with a single and powerful blow to the side of the head. Some witnesses say he did not even see the blow coming and had no chance.
“It was a quite unnecessary and cowardly attack on a defenceless man.”
Commenting on a campaign launched by Hinkler’s family and friends, arguing the boxer should have been charged with ‘one punch manslaughter’ rather than murder, the judge said: “This is very different to the ‘one punch’ scenario. In those cases there is no intention either to kill or to cause serious harm.” Det Supt Andy Thompson, who led the murder investigation, said: “This was not one punch. He punched once inside the bar, which is captured on CCTV, and immediately before he struck Thomas, just a few seconds earlier, he knocked somebody else unconscious too.
“If you know you can knock somebody out like that you know there is a significant likelihood you are going to cause serious injury.”
He said the boxer had shown ‘gratuitous violence’, and his lengthy prison sentence should serve as a warning.
“I hope it sends a message that people need to think twice before engaging in senseless violence,” he said. “People may think they are only having a punch-up but there can be severe consequences. It just isn’t worth it.”
Hinkler was ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years behind bars for murder and another six years, to run at the same time, for grievous bodily harm with intent relating to the earlier attack.