Three locked up for killing of Pontypool cyclist
11:23am Tuesday 10th June 2014 in News
A TRIO who were today locked up for the manslaughter of a Gwent cyclist did not foresee the "catastrophic injury" which killed him, a judge has said.
But Judge Eleri Rees told Cardiff Crown Court that it would have been "obvious" to them that by chasing 63-year-old cyclist John Reeder down a hill in Pontnewynydd last year, that it was "a dangerous situation".
Deon Morgan, 20, of no fixed address, and Andrew Vass, 26, of Upland Drive, Trevethin, were found guilty after a trial in April this year of the manslaughter of Mr Reeder, which happened when he sustained fatal head injuries coming off his bike in the early hours of August 7, 2013.
Casey Coslett, 20, who had been 19 years of age and living at a homeless hostel in Pontnewynydd at the time of Mr Reeder's death, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at a hearing in February this year.
A fourth defendant charged with manslaughter, Kieran Allcock, 18, of no fixed address, was acquitted.
Today at sentencing the court heard that Morgan, Vass and Coslett had been drinking cider and taking the drug mephedrone, known as meow meow, until the early hours of August 7.
Morgan spotted Mr Reeder - who she had allegedly assaulted weeks previously - on his bike and in two groups the three defendants had started chasing him down a hill, with Vass shouting at him to stop.
A similar incident had happened the night before involving the same defendants and Mr Reeder, but on that occasion he had got away, the court heard.
Judge Rees said that Morgan was running side to side "like a goalkeeper" and Coslett, who was coming up the hill, stepped out in front of Mr Reeder, causing him to come off his bike.
Mr Reeder lay motionless in the road while the defendants ran off.
Vass and Morgan were found in a park inside a sleeping bag and arrested the next morning, while Coslett was arrested a short time later.
"There is no evidence that you were lying in wait for Mr Reeder, but you knew he would be in fear of you," said Judge Rees.
"Unlawful violence may have been unplanned, but if you had caught him he would have been subject to some physical violence.
"None of you foresaw the catastrophic injury he sustained, but it would have been obvious that by chasing him and forcing him to cycle as fast as he could that this was a dangerous situation," she said.
"You each played your part."
Judge Rees described the sentencing as difficult.
She sentenced Morgan, who burst into tears when she was sentenced, to five years' detention, and gave Vass five years in jail.
Coslett was sentenced to three years and nine months' detention. All three must pay a victim surcharge upon release.