Leeds & West Yorkshire

Litter row killing: Man jailed over 1995 death

Andrew Batten (Left) and Anthony McDonnell Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Andrew Batten (left) died after been punched by Anthony John McDonnell at a taxi rank in Leeds in 1995

A man has been sentenced to four years for killing a postman two decades ago during an argument about littering.

Andrew Batten, 42, died after being punched by Anthony John McDonnell during a disagreement over a drinks can in Vicar Lane, Leeds in October 1995.

McDonnell, 45, of Whitebridge Avenue, Leeds, was caught after renewed police appeals on the 20th anniversary of what police called a "needless act".

He earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Leeds Crown Court.

Mr Batten, who lived in Beeston, had gone out after finishing work and was still wearing his Royal Mail uniform when he was attacked.

He was found on the pavement by an ambulance crew after an anonymous call and was taken to Leeds General Infirmary with a fractured skull. He died two days later.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Anthony John McDonnell pleaded guilty to manslaughter at an earlier hearing

Det Ch Insp Jim Dunkerley, who led the anniversary investigation, said the case showed the "catastrophic consequences of drink-fuelled violence - the waste of a life".

"It was a needless act on a unassuming chap who had had a quiet drink for an hour after work," he said.

Speaking during the anniversary appeal, Vanessa Batten, Mr Batten's sister, said: "The people involved that night have enjoyed 20 years of life that Andrew was denied.

"The aching of his loss still cripples me."

After an inquiry at the time of the attack failed to lead to a conclusion, the anniversary was used to release CCTV images of people police hoped to speak to.

Det Ch Insp Dunkerley said: "Sometimes you get new information years later as allegiances change or consciences are pricked.

"No case will become too old, none are closed."

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