Teenager jailed for fatally kicking friend in row

PUBLISHED: 17:08 04 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:26 05 May 2010

A TEENAGER died after his head was kicked like a football in a row over a telephone number. Christopher Owen-Jones (pictured), 19, had been knocked to the ground by Steven Bangert when he refused to give the number of the man who had sex with his older si

A TEENAGER died after his head was kicked like a football in a row over a telephone number.

Christopher Owen-Jones (pictured), 19, had been knocked to the ground by Steven Bangert when he refused to give the number of the man who had sex with his older sister.

As Christopher rose to his feet, Bangert delivered a fatal kick as if he was taking a penalty, St Albans Crown Court heard today (Monday).

When Bangert fled, two 14-year-old girls bravely helped keep Christopher alive until paramedics arrived.

Judge Michael Baker QC lifted a ban on naming Katrina Blundell and Hannah Warden saying: "Their presence of mind and actions should be commended."

Katrina spoke to ambulance control on a mobile phone and gave instructions to Hannah to work on Christopher's body.

Prosecutor Patrick Fields said: "The two girls remained the most calm as is evident from the call to the emergency services. Because Christopher had gone into cardiac arrest, the operator guided Katrina in the techniques of resuscitation and cardiac massage and she relayed instructions to Hannah who performed the task until paramedics arrived."

Mr Fields said Christopher died from his injuries following the attack by Bangert, also 19, in a garage block just off Broadwater Crescent in Stevenage at 11.30pm on November 9 last year.

The prosecutor described the killing as: "A pointless death arising from the refusal or inability of Christopher to provide a telephone number to the defendant."

He said that at 1pm on November 9 Christopher finished work at a local company making circuit boards. He spent the afternoon in the Standard Bearer pub with a friend and then bought a case of lager from an off licence at Marymead shops in Broadwater Crescent. They met up with others and drank the lager in Shephalbury Park. They bought a second case.

Later, Katrina and Hannah, who had joined the group, asked Christopher and another youth to walk them home. They ended up in the garage area where Bangert appeared.

It was there one of the group told Bangert he knew someone who had had sex with his sister.

Bangert wrongly thought Christopher had the man's telephone number and demanded he hand it over.

One of the girls said Bangert got Christopher in a headlock and punched him before they went to the ground. As Christopher was getting up Bangert kicked him in the head, knocking him unconscious. She described is as "like he was booting a football - like all the way - trying to get it all the way across the pitch."

Another witness described how when Christopher was on the ground Bangert continued to punch him. He went on: "In describing the kick I would say it was like shooting a penalty, it was not a half-hearted attempt, he knew what he was doing."

Bangert shouted: "Get up, you pussy."

Mr Fields said: "Whether because of shock or simply because of a feeling of denial of the enormity of what he had done, the defendant declared that the victim was 'faking' and that he was not seriously hurt."

Christopher was taken to Lister Hospital. A brain scan revealed the bleeding into the brain was already beyond surgical intervention. At 12.24pm the next day he was certified dead. His organs were used for transplants.

A post-mortem revealed bruising to the chest, face, neck and head. There were other cuts and bruises and bruising to the left outer ear extending behind the ear and down the neck.

Bangert was arrested and said he had smoked two joints of cannabis and had drunk four cans of Strongbow.

Bangert, of Blenheim Way, Stevenage denied murder but admitted manslaughter. His plea was accepted by the prosecution.

He had previous convictions and at the time of the attack on Christopher was on bail for breaking a man's jaw. He was subsequently jailed for nine months for that attack at Luton Crown Court.

Defending, Benjamin Aina said Christopher and Bangert were friends. "He acted in an immature and stupid way." He said Bangert had written to Christopher's mother saying he took full responsibility and was remorseful.

Judge Baker jailed Bangert for four years and nine months. He told him: "This was an act of gross criminal irresponsibility. The man who died was wholly innocent and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The sentence does not represent the value of Christopher's life - life is beyond price.

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