Man jailed for killing fellow student during 'attack fuelled by alcohol' in Sheffield

Yongqi Liang was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday Credit: South Yorkshire Police

A Chinese national who had been studying in Sheffield has been sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter after admitting killing a fellow student in the city. 

Yongqi Liang, 25, from Shanghai, got into a fight with former University of Sheffield student, Xiangyu Li in the city centre in March this year.

Mr Li, 26, who was originally from Ji Lin City, died later that night.

CCTV officers at Sheffield Town Hall were alerted to a person laid out on the pavement on Union Street in the early hours of 24 March.

A security guard and two police officers arrived and found Xiangyu with significant bruises to his head, neck and chest, consistent with a violent attack.

He was pronounced dead a short time later, despite efforts by officers and paramedics to save him.

Xiangyu Li was a former student at The University of Sheffield and had most recently been studying at The University of Kent Credit: South Yorkshire Police

The attack on Xiangyu was captured by CCTV footage, which police say shows Liang instigating the fight.

Yongqi Liang pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday 5 October.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Oughton, investigating, said: "The footage showed Liang instigate a fight, which escalated dramatically. Liang dragged his fellow student to the floor, punching him violently. As the assault continued, Liang delivered a blow to Xiangyu’s head, he fell to the floor and never regained consciousness.

 "The defendant could be seen spending around eight minutes attempting chest compressions, and mouth to mouth resuscitation, before leaving the scene."

Statements from friends of the pair claimed that they had all been drinking heavily in the hours leading up to the fight.

DCI Oughton added: "The morning after the incident, Liang made plans to leave the country. He got a taxi to Terminal One at Manchester Airport and in an effort to flee to China, booked and boarded a flight to Frankfurt.

"Unfortunately for Liang, officers were waiting for him in Germany and he was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant. He was later returned to Doncaster where he was charged with murder." 

He continued: "I cannot put into words how difficult this has been for Xiangyu’s family to come to terms with. Their son came to study in the UK, full of hope and excitement, he’d made friends here and had a life here. Receiving contact from our officers was incredibly tough for them. My thoughts remain with them today.

"This is an extremely sad loss of a young life. Xiangyu was a fit, healthy young man who loved sport and music. His life was taken away in a violent incident, by someone he thought was his friend."

 In his sentencing remarks at Sheffield Crown Court today, The Recorder of Sheffield Judge Jeremy Richardson QC described the case as a tragedy in ‘every dimension’, which DCI Oughton aggreed with.

He explained: "I would have to agree with these comments, there is a great deal of sadness at the heart of this case. It was an attack fuelled by alcohol and was a wholly unnecessary and tragic end to a young man’s life."