A COUPLE from Fleetwood have been cleared of murdering a “gentle giant” who died following an attack outside a Fylde coast taxi office.
However, one of the defendants, Jamie Perkes, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Allan Taylor following a two-week trial.
At Preston Crown Court his girlfriend, 28-year-old hairdresser Leanne Potter, whose bail address was given as Central Drive, Blackpool, was cleared of both murder and manslaughter charges, but convicted of common assault.
Judge Anthony Russell QC gave her a 12-month conditional discharge, saying she had served the equivalent of the maximum possible sentence for such an offence through time on remand and on a qualifying curfew.
Perks, 23, also of Central Drive, Blackpool, was remanded in custody for sentencing in a month’s time.
A pre-sentence report will be compiled on him by the Probation Service before sentencing takes place.
The prosecution had claimed the defendants kicked or stamped on Mr Taylor in an unprovoked attack inside the office of Fleetwood Taxis in the early hours of New Year’s Day last year.
The 28-year-old went on to suffer a broken ankle and was found dead from blood clots 16 weeks later at his home on Leven Avenue, Fleetwood.
Mr Taylor, a former RAF member, was described in court as a gentle giant.
On the night of New Year’s Eve 2009 he and a friend had been out in Fleetwood before going to the office of Fleetwood Taxis in the early hours to get a cab.
During the trial, taxi firm employee Leanne Henderson gave evidence to claim she saw both defendants stamping on Mr Taylor as he lay on the floor.
She suggested Perkes had punched Mr Taylor, causing him to go to the ground.
She alleged Perkes then stamped on the back of his head about five times, while Potter stamped on his lower body and legs a number of times. In her evidence to the jury, Potter claimed she had never assaulted or had any contact with Mr Taylor.
Perkes alleged he was struck to the left ear and turned round to see Mr Taylor coming towards him, with his friend behind him.
Det Supt Neil Esseen, of Lancashire Police, said: “The court heard the full details of the violence used, which included Perks kicking and stamping on Allan, even as he lay defenceless on the floor.
“This led, among other injuries, to the breaking of his left ankle that ultimately led to his untimely death. This is a tragic case in which a young man has lost his life and I am pleased the court has accepted Perkes was involved in Allan’s death.”
The devastated parents of Mr Taylor said justice had been done after Perkes was convicted of manslaughter.
Keith and Jean Taylor and his sister Nicola Taylor said: “There are no winners in this case but we feel justice has been done and Allan can now rest in peace. We would like thank our family and friends for their support throughout this incredibly difficult time and also all of the police officers involved.”