Essex man, 27, convicted of manslaughter

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Brodie Groome was found guilty of the manslaughter of Steven Warburton. - Credit: ARCHANT

An Essex man is facing a lengthy jail term after being convicted of manslaughter. 

Brodie Groome, 27, of Sydney Street, Brightlingsea, had denied unlawfully killing 46-year-old Steven Warburton following a late night incident in Colchester in August last year.

He was unanimously found guilty of manslaughter after a jury at Ipswich Crown Court unanimously rejected his claim that he had been acting in self-defence when he struck the fatal blow.

Judge Martyn Levett adjourned sentence until December 1 and asked the probation service to prepare a report addressing the issue of dangerousness after hearing that Groome had a number of previous convictions for assault and threatening behaviour.

Mr Warburton hit his head on the ground after being punched by Groome on August 19 last year and died in hospital three weeks later

The court has heard that Mr Warburton had been out drinking in Colchester with his wife Caroline, son Byron and daughter-in-law Olivia while Groome had been out drinking with a male friend and two women.

The two groups met in Vineyard Street just after midnight and there were conflicting accounts about how the violence that followed erupted, said Nicola May, prosecuting.

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She said that on mobile phone footage recorded by a witness both groups were shouting at each other apart from Mr Warburton who was hanging around at the back of the group.

He could be seen pulling his son away and then picking his wife up off the ground after she fell over but wasn’t involved in the altercation, alleged Miss May.

Giving evidence Groome claimed he had made a "split second decision" to punch Mr Warburton because he believed he was about to punch him. 

“I believed he was going to throw a punch 100%,” said Groome.

“If I’d waited I might have been flat in my back. If he’d hit me he would have wiped me out,” he said.

Groome said he didn’t think his punch was hard enough to knock out Mr Warburton and believed the amount Mr Warburton had drunk played a part in him going to the ground.