'One punch' killer jailed

Archie Dean Henderson. Credit: Northumbria Police

An attacker who killed a 25-stone "gentle giant" with a single blow hasbeen jailed.

Archie Henderson sent 6ft 4in Michael Thompson crashing to the ground after a "full force" punch outside the Studio Sport Bar in Priestpopple, Hexham, Northumberland, in January.

The 32-year-old dad, who had been reaching out to shake his attacker's hand when he was hit, suffered serious head injuries followed by a cardiac arrest and died at the scene.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Henderson, 25, had been acting "lairy" towards customers in the club, where both men were with separate groups of friends and had already squared up to Mr Thompson for a fight inside and called him "big boy".

It was at closing time Mr Thompson reached out to shake the aggressor'shand and was told "fat lad, come on then", was hit and told "this is what youdeserve".

Prosecutor Mark Giuliani told the court: "Mr Thompson was offering hisright hand out to handshake.

"The defendant put his right arm forward then punched him to the right sideof his jaw with his left fist."

Mr Guiliani said Mr Thompson was knocked unconscious and never regained consciousness again.

Mr Thompson, who worked as a driver, was described as a "gentle giant who would help anyone he could" and had been due to be groomsman at his brother's wedding in October.

Henderson of Redesmouth Court, Bellingham, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

The judge said Mr Thompson had acted conciliatory before the unprovokedattack.

The court heard Henderson left the area after the attack but handed himselfin to the police within hours and immediately said "I am sorry, I didn't meanit".

He held his head in his hands and appeared to be in tears during thehearing.

Peter Makepeace QC, defending, said Henderson, who has previousconvictions, was a hard worker but "binge drinking" caused him problems.