A SHAW man has been jailed for six years after being found to have caused the death of a man days before Christmas.
Michael Milligan Nield was deemed to have been more culpable for the manslaughter of Daniel Hogan by delivering the punch that knocked him out.
The victim then fell back on to cobbles in Uppermill and the blow to the back of the head, couple with ingesting blood from injuries caused by him lashing out, triggered a chain of events that resulted in a cardiac arrest and his death.
Manchester Crown Court heard Milligan Nield, who was desribed after being jailed as coming from Lees but was originally listed as coming from Society Street, had met up with Daniel Forster on December 21, which is commonly known as ‘Mad Friday’ in Greenfield after his pal’s Christmas party finished early.
After drinking what he described as ‘eight pints, a few Jagerbombs and some rum and coke,’ he was approached by Mr Hogan, who asked if they had any cocaine.
Three other teenagers were also asked, after which the pair chatted with them and Mr Hogan, who lived in Rochdale and worked for Saddleworth Plant Hire, came back asking the same question.
After being shoved to the floor, the victim – who stood more than 6ft tall and weighed 20 stone – called them ‘cheeky b*****ds,’ leading to the pair approaching him again.
Forster landed a glancing blow but Milligan Nield’s punch broke Mr Hogan’s nasal bones – worse than a broken nose – and caused a large gash, knocking him out, which resulted in a severe blow to his head that set off a chain of events that ended with a cardiac arrest.
The court heard Mr Hogan started drinking in Oldham at noon before ending up in the nearby village of Uppermill.
At about 11.30pm, he asked the three teenagers if they had any cocaine which alerted Forster and former Army engineer Milligan Nield, who had already been asked.
The court heard Mr Hogan, who prosecutor Francis McEntee said: “To some extent, he was being a bit of a nuisance,” asked them again several times before the initial push outside Uppermill Methodist Church, where the Christmas tree was situated.
CCTV footage then showed the pair walk away before heading back and Mr Hogan being left on the floor, with witnesses saying Milligan Nield’s punch landed a second after Forster swung for him.
Mr Hogan had celebrated his 34th birthday just three days before the incident and was preparing to attend his stepfather’s funeral.
On Friday, June 14 after a five day trial, 25-year-old Milligan Nield was cleared of murder as prosecutors tried to prove he intended to cause grievous bodily harm, with co-defendant Daniel Forster’s statement of: “If he carries on, we’ll have to batter him,” being key.
Giving evidence, he said: “I’m sorry to the victim’s family. Every night, every day and every morning I think about it. I should be at home with my family.”
But Milligan Nield and 24-year-old Forster, of Ashfield Crescent, Springhead, had already admitted manslaughter and were jailed, the former receiving six years as he was deemed to be the leader in what was described as ‘spur of the moment madness’ and the latter four years.
Jurors took 77 minutes to return a unanimous verdict, clearing Milligan Nield – who has been in custody since being arrested nearby after running away from the scene – of murder.
Judge Richard Mansell QC, described Mr Hogan – whose brother Alex sobbed as victim impact statements were read out in court – as,’ vulnerable,’ adding: “He was a big man but he was extremely drunk. He certainly wasn’t offering any violence.”
He told the pair as he sent them down: “Mr Hogan was not offering any violence or threat of violence.
“Mr Nield, you moved your position to get a clean shot at Mr Hogan and deliver a very forceful punch with your left hand that landed squarely on his nose.
“That punch was delivered with considerable force, fracturing both nasal bones which you must’ve felt through your own hand as the cracking on bines was heard by a witness who was stood several yards away.
“The blow to his head caused damage to his brain and couple with the inhalation of blood from his nose injury and the fact he never regained consciousness led directly to Daniel Hogan’s death within a matter of minutes.
“Mr Nield, I consider you to be more culpable and responsible for Daniel Hogan’s death.”
Senior Investigating Officer, Duncan Thorpe, of Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incidents Team, said: “Daniel’s night began in high spirits, celebrating Christmas with colleagues in Oldham before travelling to Uppermill to end the evening.
“His aggressors would have been able to clearly see that Daniel had taken on drink and was unsteady on his feet.
“This was an unprovoked, unnecessary assault. Nield and Forster could just have walked away. Instead they jointly assaulted him, their anger and aggression ultimately cost Daniel his life.
“Despite the valiant efforts of two good Samaritans and the medical team, Daniel died – leaving his family with a gaping hole in their lives shortly before Christmas last year.
“Our thoughts remain with them as they continue to come to terms with their loss.
“We are pleased that Daniel’s killers have been brought to justice. They now have a long time to reflect upon the hurt they have caused.”