Two men have been cleared over the death of a DPD delivery driver who had a heart attack when they stole his wallet and phone from his van.
Delivery driver James Coyles, 66, died in Horden, in County Durham earlier this year after the pair stole his wallet and mobile phone from his van as he made deliveries.
Gary Hepworth, 44, and Joseph Niles, 41, appeared at Teesside Crown Court over the incident, which happened on 19 March 2023.
The court was told Mr Coyles suffered a heart attack and died as he followed the pair of thieves in his van and asked them to return his wallet, which contained treasured family photos.
Hepworth and Niles were charged with the manslaughter of the DPD driver but the prosecution dropped the charge last month.
Niles of no fixed abode, and Hepworth of Greenside Avenue, Peterlee, were both jailed for six months for theft during the hearing on Wednesday 6 September.
Hepworth was also jailed for two months consecutively for assaulting a police officer after his arrest, making a total of eight months behind bars.
They had both spent four months in custody.
Judge Recorder Paul Reid said they played no legal part in Mr Coyles’ death but they undoubtedly bore a moral one.
Following his death, Mr Coyles' daughter Katie said: “There will never be the words to describe the way we feel. Nothing ever prepares you for this hurt and pain.
“Our hearts are broken. We love you so very much, and will continue to make you proud each and every day the way you always told us.
“It’s only see you later, dad. It’s not goodbye.”
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