'Kind' Devizes man's killer found guilty of manslaughter after one-punch attack

Wayne Sheppard, known to his friends as Bert, suffered a severe post traumatic brain injury after hitting his head on a concrete curb. Credit: Wiltshire Police

A Devizes man has been found guilty of manslaughter after killing Wayne Sheppard, 44, in a one-punch attack.

Wayne, known to his friends as Bert, died in hospital just six days after he was assaulted in New Park Street in July 2022.

Darren John Fell, 39, of Hewitt Court, was found guilty of manslaughter following a trial at Winchester Crown Court.

Paramedics were called to New Park Street on 2 July following a report that a man, who was later identified as Mr Sheppard, had sustained a serious head injury.

Further hospital tests showed Mr Sheppard’s injury was likely to have been a result of an assault and officers launched an investigation.

Wayne Sheppard Credit: Wiltshire Police

Enquiries found Mr Sheppard had been punched by another man who was quickly identified as Fell. He was arrested and charged with GBH.

Mr Sheppard remained in hospital for six days before he died.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Walker said: “This incident was a huge shock to the local close-knit community of Devizes, of which Wayne was a popular member.

"He was a well-liked and well-known man and I know news of his death was extremely upsetting for all who knew him.

“Extensive CCTV enquiries and witness statements were gathered as part of our investigation. 

“We discovered that Wayne was struck to the face by Fell after a short verbal exchange between them.

"This punch caused Wayne to fall backwards and hit his head on the concrete floor.  Wayne suffered a severe post-traumatic brain injury that, sadly, he was unable to recover from.

“During the trial, it was found that Wayne presented no danger to anyone and Fell was not acting in self-defence. He has shown no remorse for his actions. 

“This incident demonstrates that one punch can kill and I would urge people to think twice before resorting to violence.

"One punch can have devastating consequences as has sadly been demonstrated in this case. My thoughts are with Wayne’s family and friends at this tragic time.”

In a tribute released at the time of his death, Mr Sheppard’s family described him as a "happy-go-lucky man" who had a kind nature.

His parents Sandy and Pete said: “He was really well known and very well-liked in Devizes. He was always out and about so everyone knew who he was and he’d help anyone. He was such a kind person.”

Fell is due to be sentenced on 31 July.