Man and ex-partner jailed and teen detained after post nightclub killing in New Brighton

Reporter:

Jonathan Barnett

A MAN, woman and teenager have been jailed for the manslaughter of a father who died after an attack which was filmed on a mobile phone.

Zac Wells, 30, died after he fractured his skull in the attack in New Brighton, Wirral, in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard he was chased and then punched, and possibly tripped, by Christopher Cousins, 29, who was accompanied by his ex-partner Naomi Ogden, 27, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who was filming the incident.

Cousins, an amateur boxer, and Ogden hugged in the dock after they were jailed for six and a half years, while the teenager was sentenced to three years in detention.

Gerald Baxter, prosecuting, said the group were in nightclub Evo’s Loft earlier that night but Mr Wells, a formal naval officer from Liscard, Wirral, had been ejected after an argument broke out.

Mr Wells then waited outside the club and Cousins and Ogden left at about 3.30am, after meeting the teenager and giving him Cousins’ phone to film the violence.

Mr Baxter said: “They left the club with the intention that Cousins would fight Zac Wells and that the fight would be preserved for posterity on the telephone.”

Judge David Aubrey QC said the attack, which he described as “needless” and “senseless”, was instigated by mother-of-two Ogden.

He said: “The assault had been pre-arranged and thus, in my judgment, was premeditated and planned.

“It had been planned because you, Naomi Ogden, had taken offence and were harbouring resentment.

“You had brought that resentment to the notice of Christopher Cousins.

“The seeds had been sown and the plan, albeit over a short period of time, evolved.”

He said Ogden orchestrated the events, which he described as being fuelled by drink and drugs.

Judge Aubrey said: “The violence was to be recorded, as you all perceived it, in all its glory, but there was nothing glorious in that which occurred outside the nightclub.”

The court heard the video could not be retrieved from the phone and was thought to have been deleted.

Judge Aubrey said Mr Wells ran away as the three chased him “in a pack” before Cousins struck a “deliberate” and “aggressive” blow.

Pathology evidence showed the fatal head injury was likely to have been caused by impact with the ground when he fell after being punched.

Mr Wells died in hospital on January 4.

In a statement which was read to the court, his former partner Tara Webb said his children, aged five and two, were struggling to understand what had happened.

She said: “Every time I look at the children they remind me of Zac and is a constant reminder he isn’t there and although I have help, I still feel alone.”

Jeremy Hawthorn, defending Cousins, who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, said he accepted full responsibility for what had happened.

Ogden and the teenager were found guilty following a trial in July.

Richard Pratt QC, representing Ogden, said she was an “accomplished mother” and her actions on that night were “outside of her normal range of character.”

Saleema Mahmood, defending the teenager, said he been following instructions from adult co-defendants.

Email:

jonathan.barnett@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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