Parents of man killed by single punch welcome Emmerdale storyline

  • Video report by Martin Fisher

The parents of a man killed by a single punch have welcomed a soap storyline tackling the issue of violent attacks.

Scott Akester, 31, died after being struck by his friend outside Grandale pub in Hull during a night out in November last year.

Mr Akester's parents, Steve and Debbie, are now campaigning to raise awareness of the dangers of such assaults.

It comes as the ITV drama Emmerdale features a storyline about a similar incident, after character Dan Spencer's life begins to fall apart when he punches Lloyd, who was stalking his daughter online.

Mrs Akester said: "I think it's great that they are covering the story line, because the more we can get it out there, people will hopefully think when they are in the middle of an argument, they don't have to punch out.

"They can just walk away and come back and sort it out the next day."

Michael Pearson, left, and Scott Akester were friends before the fatal attack. Credit: Humberside Police

Scott Akester, a father of a four-year-old girl, had been drinking with friends in Hull when he was punched by 30-year-old Michael Pearson. The pair, who were friends, had been celebrating after Pearson helped to get Mr Akester a job.

Mr Akester hit his head on the ground, fracturing his skull and suffering swelling to his brain. He died later in hospital.

Pearson was later convicted of manslaughter and jailed for seven and a half years.

Debbie Akester said: "It turned out lives upside down from day one. We have had to go through eight months waiting for the trial and Scott's funeral.

"Scott's daughter is that young she doesn't really understand what's happened, we've had to put on a brave face for her. It's been really difficult, it just feels like our life has stopped."

Steve Akester said: "He wasn't just my son, he was my best friend. With him being my only child I used to spend a lot of time ringing him, confiding in him. And now he's gone."

Actor Liam Fox, who plays Dan Spencer in Emmerdale, said he had been affected by stories like that of Scott Akester while researching his storyline.

The Emmerdale storyline tackles the issue of one-punch attacks. Credit: ITV/Emmerdale

"It's just sad, it's sad for everyone concerned," he said.

"Because nine times out of ten, the person whose done that punch, it has been a split second thing, it hasn't been premeditated and their families lost them and the person that they've killed, they've lost them.

"It's just all about loss and it's not worth it.

"I'm hoping by doing this story line, if there is just one person that thinks again, then we've done our job."

Mr and Mrs Akester are hoping to work with schools and charities to raise awareness of the consequences of one-punch attacks.

Mr Akester said: "People seem to think that any little altercation you can lash out. There are other ways you can deal with it - count to ten, walk away. You don't have to throw that punch. Once you've thrown it, devastation has happened. You can't take it back.

"We just want to raise awareness that people don't realise the risks one punch can have. It doesn't just affect one family, it affects wider friends and family."

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