Family describe heartache over death of 'caring and generous' father-of-two

Ipswich Crown Court

Brodie Groome appeared at Ipswich Crown Court for sentence - Credit: Archant

The family of a man who died following a car park fight in Colchester have described their "excruciating pain" over his death. 

Steven Warburton, 46, hit his head on the ground after being struck by Brodie Groome, 27, in Vineyard Street car park, in Colchester, on August 19 last year.

Mr Warburton suffered a traumatic brain injury and died in hospital three weeks after the late-night attack. 

Groome, of Sydney Street, Brightlingsea, denied unlawfully killing the father-of-two and claimed he was acting in self-defence.

However, a jury unanimously found him guilty of manslaughter following a trial at Ipswich Crown Court in September this year. 

During the trial, the jury heard how 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 encountered each other in Vineyard Street just after midnight and violence erupted following an argument. 

Most Read

Mobile phone footage recorded by a witness showed both groups were shouting at each other apart from Mr Warburton, who was hanging around at the back of the group.

On CCTV footage from the car park Mr Warburton was seen leaning down to help his wife, who had been knocked to the floor.

He was then punched by Groome and fell backwards, hitting his head against the pavement. 

The court heard that Mr Warburton had been out celebrating his son's wedding anniversary. 

At Groome's sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday, victim impact statements were read by prosecutor Nicola May. 

A statement written by Caroline Warburton spoke of the "unbearable pain" her husband's death had caused. 

She said Mr Warburton was "thoughtful, caring and generous" and was her best friend and soul partner. 

Mrs Warburton said her husband "always wanted to help others" and "adored his family". 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, relatives were unable to see Mr Warburton following the attack, which was "traumatic" for family members, Mrs Warburton said. 

Groome had a number of previous convictions for assault and threatening behaviour. 

Judge Martyn Levett adjourned sentence until tomorrow and Groome, who is facing a lengthy prison sentence, will appear via video link from Norwich Prison to learn his fate.