Homeless man guilty of one-punch killing in Grimsby

Christopher Shipway Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Christopher Shipway died in hospital six days after he was punched to the ground by Marc Bennison

A homeless man has been found guilty of killing a man with a single punch.

Marc Bennison, 37, knocked Christopher Shipway to the floor after the 46-year-old challenged him on his lifestyle, a court heard.

Mr Shipway died in hospital six days after the altercation between the two men in the Old Market Place, Grimsby.

Bennison, who claimed he was defending himself, was jailed for four years after being convicted of manslaughter by jurors at Sheffield Crown Court.

The court heard Bennison, of no fixed address, had been sitting in a sleeping bag in the doorway of the Halifax Bank when Mr Shipway walked by with two other men in the early hours of the morning.

Image copyright Humberside Police
Image caption Bennison (right) punched Christopher Shipway during an altercation between the two men

Prosecutor Jeremy Evans said Bennison had asked the men for money but Mr Shipway refused and swore at him.

He said Mr Shipway had then "challenged him about his lifestyle", saying "you don't have to live on the streets".

Mr Evans said Mr Shipway's behaviour towards Bennison could "at worst" be described as "rude, insulting and disrespectful" but "did not amount to behaviour that would cause this defendant to believe that he was at imminent threat of attack".

However, he said after the two had been talking for about 20 minutes, Bennison had "had a belly full" of Mr Shipway and punched him in the face causing him to fall backwards and hit his head.

Image copyright Humberside Police
Image caption Bennison was convicted of manslaughter after a trial

Mr Evans said Mr Shipway sustained a serious head injury and died on 1 September, five days before his 47th birthday.

"There were other options available to Marc Bennison in the early hours of that morning and he knew it, " he said.

"He could have simply walked away, however, he chose to assault Mr Shipway and that is not self-defence."

Mr Shipway's family said in a statement: "We are devastated to have lost Christopher in such unnecessary circumstances.

"Whether Marc Bennison meant to kill Christopher or not, his violent actions have taken Christopher from us, and that is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life."

Det Ch Insp Stewart Miller said: "A single punch has unnecessarily destroyed a number of lives."

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