Darren Fell sentenced to nine years imprisonment for manslaughter of Devizes man Wayne Sheppard
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A man has today been sentenced to nine years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Devizes man Wayne Sheppard.
Darren John Fell, 40, of Hewitt Court, appeared at Winchester Crown Court for sentencing today after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of Wayne at an earlier hearing.
Wayne, 44, of Waiblingen Way, died in hospital in July 2022 – six days after he was assaulted by Fell in New Park Street.
Paramedics were called to the scene on July 2 following an initial report that Wayne had sustained a head injury. Further tests at hospital showed Wayne’s injury was likely to be a result of an assault and a police investigation was launched.
Enquiries found Wayne, known as Bert to friends and family, had been punched by another man who was quickly identified as Fell.
In a tribute released at the time of his death, Mr Sheppard’s family described him as a ‘happy go lucky man who had a kind nature.’.
In a victim impact statement provided to the court, his parents Sandy and Pete said: “No parent wants to bury their child, I never thought that we would lose our son. We miss him every day and life has not been the same since he was assaulted. The hardest five days of our lives were sitting by Wayne’s bedside knowing that he was not going to survive his injuries.
“I miss seeing Wayne’s face at the front window pulling silly faces when he used to come over for a roast dinner. I often look up hoping to see him for a split second but then I remember, and I feel a pang in my heart and it hurts all over again.
“Wayne was not perfect, and he had some troubles, but he had a heart of gold. We will always miss him; we find it hard that his two daughters will now have to go through life without their dad and we will have to carry on with our lives without sour son. Wayne was taken from us because of a violent act that he did not deserve, and this is something we cannot forgive.”
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Walker said: “This incident was a huge shock to the local close-knit community of Devizes, of which Wayne was a popular member. He was a well-liked and well-known man and I know news of his death was extremely upsetting for all who knew him.
“Extensive CCTV enquiries and witness statements were gathered as part of our investigation. We discovered that Wayne was struck to the face by Fell after a short verbal exchange between them. This punch caused Wayne to fall backwards and hit his head on the concrete floor. Wayne suffered a severe post traumatic brain injury that, sadly, he was unable to recover from.
“During the trial, it was found that Wayne presented no danger to anyone and Fell was not acting in self-defence. He has shown little remorse for his actions.
“This incident demonstrates that one punch can kill and I would urge people to think twice before resorting to violence. One punch can have devastating consequences as has sadly been demonstrated in this case.
“My thoughts are with Wayne’s family and friends at this tragic time – whilst nothing will ever bring Wayne back, I hope that news of this sentence will bring them some form of closure to what has been an incredibly upsetting and distressing time.”