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Man convicted and jailed for manslaughter following fatal Merton street fight

News   •   Nov 06, 2018 17:22 GMT

[Jailed]: Joseph Otinkoran Ankrah

A man has been convicted of manslaughter and jailed following a fatal street fight in Merton.

Joseph Otinkoran Ankrah, 31 (20.02.87) of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday, 16 October.

Ankrah was charged with murder but the court accepted a plea of manslaughter.

He was sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, 6 November to seven years imprisonment.

Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 22:17hrs on Thursday, 19 April, after ambulance staff suspected that a 32-year-old man found collapsed on London Road in Morden had been assaulted.

Aaron Springett, who lived locally, was taken to a south London hospital in a critical condition. He died from his injuries at 23:45hrs on Friday, 20 April.

A post-mortem examination gave cause of death as hypoxic brain injury, cardiorespiratory arrest, rupture of the heart and blunt force trauma to the chest

An investigation was launched by the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command and enquiries established that the victim was involved in a fight with another man outside a bookmakers on London Road in Merton.

At about 21:55hrs, Ankrah left the bookmakers and began arguing with Aaron in the street. The pair did not know each other. They then began holding each other and pulling each other by the collars before Ankrah slapped Aaron to the side of the face which caused him to fall to the ground.

A bystander then intervened by standing between the two men and tried to get them to leave in opposite directions.

Aaron then stood back up and began shouting at Ankrah. This angered Ankrah who marched over to Aaron and pushed him in the chest, causing him to fall backwards.

Ankrah then kicked Aaron 'like a footballer' at least twice in the chest before he was dragged away by the bystander. Aaron was kicked with such force that it ruptured his heart.

Aaron stood-up and began to walk away before collapsing a short distance away.

A number of enquiries were carried out including reviewing the area's CCTV and speaking to witnesses which led to Ankrah being arrested on Saturday, 21 April. He answered "no comment" to all questions put to him, apart from when he was shown a photo of the victim to which he replied "I don't know him, no comment."

Ankrah was charged with murder on Sunday, 22 April.

Detective Inspector Will White, from the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command, who led the investigation, said: "Ankrah was unable to control his anger and he attacked Aaron. Ankrah kicked Aaron with such force that it caused his heart to rupture and resulted in Aaron losing his life.

"I'm pleased that Ankrah recognised the weight of the evidence against him and chose to admit that his reckless actions resulted in Aaron's death.

"I hope today's conviction gives Aaron's family some measure of comfort and closure in what has been an extremely distressing time for them."

Aaron’s sister Lucy Rowe said in a statement: “I cannot put into words the impact of losing Aaron has truly had on myself and my family. Words mean nothing. On the evening of 20 April my whole world came crashing painfully down. My Brother, my best friend and confidant was taken away as a result of a senseless act at the hands of another. Losing a loved one at the best of times is hard, but for them to be taken in such a brutal way is just so hard to comprehend.

“My brother was a lovable, bubbly and friendly person. He always put others before himself. He was a friend to many, a devoted family member to us all. I will never be able to express in words the intense bond myself and Aaron shared from a very young age. Until his passing, we saw each other almost every day but always spoke daily. I miss everything about my brother. His warmth, humour and infectious smile. Nothing will ever change the profound loss we as a now fragmented family feel.”