Teenage gang beat much-loved Nuneaton man to death after weeks of torment and bullying

“John was bullied and tormented for weeks leading to his tragic death”
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A much-loved Nuneaton man died after being beaten by a teenage gang who had been bullying him for weeks.

Now a senior officer has issued a warning about the unintended consequences of violent crime as three teenagers were sentenced for the manslaughter of 36-year-old John Hackett.

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The three young people, who cannot be named for legal reasons, assaulted John he was walking his dog in Snow Hill Recreation Ground in April last year.

John Hackett.John Hackett.
John Hackett.

He died from his injuries the following day.

They appeared at Warwick Crown Court today (Thursday, March 21) for sentencing having previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The incident happened in Snow Hill Recreation Ground, Camp Hill Road in April 2023.

The three defendants were initially charged with murder but denied this. The court accepted their guilty plea of manslaughter.

John Hackett growing up as a young boy.John Hackett growing up as a young boy.
John Hackett growing up as a young boy.
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A 15-year-old boy from Willencote, Staffordshire was given a two-year custodial sentence.

A 16-year-old girl from the Nuneaton area was given an 18-month custodial sentence.

A 16-year-old boy from Nuneaton was given a two-year custodial sentence.

Speaking following the sentencing, DCI Collette O’Keefe from the Warwickshire Police Major Investigation Unit said: “The level of violence shown by these offenders was truly shocking and Mr Hackett must have been terrified throughout.

Happier times.Happier times.
Happier times.
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“Our thoughts are with his family who have understandably been left devastated by his death.

“This incident should serve as a warning to people; violence has consequences, and sometimes those consequences can be tragic. These three young people may not have intended to kill Mr Hackett but that is ultimately what happened, and like Mr Hackett’s family, they will live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives.”

Prior to the assault the three defendants had subjected John to weeks of verbal abuse as he walked his dog through the park.

Then on April 25 they attacked Mr Hackett after he confronted them about their behaviour.

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During the incident, the girl filmed it on her mobile phone before joining in with the violence.

John and a member of the public called the police. Officers attended and spoke to the three attackers who all claimed they were acting in self-defence.

The officers then went to his house where they found him in considerable distress having suffered injuries to his head and chest. They took him to hospital.

Two hours later he discharged himself from hospital and went home where he collapsed the following morning. He was declared dead at the scene by paramedics.

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By this time, footage of the attack had been shared widely on social media.

The three offenders were arrested later that day.

A Home Office postmortem found John had died from severe abdominal injuries described as the equivalent to being in a car crash.

In a statement, his family said: “We are devastated by John’s passing. We have lost a much-loved son, brother, nephew, and cousin, taken from us because of a mindless act of violence.

“John was bullied and tormented for weeks leading to his tragic death.

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“There isn’t a day goes by without us thinking of John and what he went through.

“We will never be able to forgive those involved. All we can hope for is that they spend their time in custody with remorse and regret and that one day they realise the extent of their actions.”

DCI O’Keefe continued: “This was a truly tragic case that has impacted so many lives and shocked the local community.

“I would like to thank the officers and criminal justice partners who worked on such a complex and challenging investigation. Fortunately, incidents of this severity are extremely rare but when they happen it is important they are investigated and managed with sensitivity and sympathy.

“No outcome can ever change what has happened, but I hope Mr Hackett’s family can now start to rebuild their lives after such a terrible ordeal.”