One Punch Deaths

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Simon, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Interesting article I came across on BBC News this morning.

    Trevor Timon has been convicted of killing bank worker Oliver Dearlove with a single punch. It's not the first case of its kind to make headlines, but how does one punch kill someone and what are the consequences for those involved?

    Robert Holland had been on a rare night out after months of working seven-day weeks.
    Before the 36-year-old went to the Oceana nightclub in Nottingham, he phoned his mother, Therese, to tell her he would visit her the next day.
    It was the last time they spoke.
    Hours later, in the early morning of 28 October 2011, Robert suffered fatal brain injuries from just one punch.

    Therese learned what had happened later that morning when police visited her home.
    "When they told me I was just screaming," she said. "I even punched them and told them to get out of my house, telling them how dare they tell me lies."
    Robert's death was caused by the force of one punch severing an artery in his brain.
    Liam Rockley, a 21-year-old former bouncer, later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

    'Just as lethal'

    Robert's death is far from an isolated case.
    While no official figures are available on one-punch deaths, the campaign group One Punch Can Kill has recorded more than 80 fatalities since 2007.
    Many of the cases have attracted media attention - in large part because it seems extraordinary that one punch can kill.
    But Duncan Bew, a consultant in trauma and acute care at King's College Hospital, said this reflects a fundamental lack of understanding.
    "People are very much focused on penetrating injuries, but actually punching someone in the head can be just as lethal," he said.

    Mr Bew said deaths from one punch tended to happen in one of three ways.
    Sometimes, as in Robert's case, the blow itself will cause fatal damage to the brain. Alternatively, it could cause a physiological response where people stop breathing and the brain is starved of oxygen.
    But in other cases, a punch will cause a person to lose consciousness and strike their head on a hard surface.
    The impact is similar to being hit over the head with a block of concrete, Mr Bew said.

    'Silly row'

    Many one-punch killings involve young men, often in drink-fuelled, random acts of violence.
    But Finola Farrant, a criminologist at the University of Roehampton, said the circumstances of cases often varied dramatically.
    These can range from unprovoked assaults, to people who have landed fatal blows in self-defence.
    In some cases arguments between close friends have resulted in a fatal punch.
    Last October, Richard Eveleigh was jailed for killing his best friend of 45 years, Paul Lightowler, with a single punch in what the court heard was a "silly" row.
    Dr Farrant said the question for courts to explore in these cases was the extent to which defendants should be culpable for someone's death when they may not have intended - or even realised - that one punch could kill.
    Indeed, such is the shock of those unintended consequences that the attackers and their families may come to see themselves as victims too, she added.

    One-punch killer: 'People aren't in control of their emotions'

    Jacob Dunne was 19 when he killed 28-year-old trainee paramedic James Hodgkinson with one punch in 2011.
    He was sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment for manslaughter.
    After his release, Jacob agreed to answer questions from James's parents about what happened as part of a scheme called Restorative Justice.
    Later he met them in person, and keen to show them he was turning his life around, he re-took his GCSEs, did an Access course for university, and is now studying criminology at Nottingham Trent University.
    Jacob, now 24, says he believes one-punch deaths, and violent crime in general, could be reduced by teaching children emotional wellbeing in schools.
    "A lot of this aggression stems from people not being in control of their emotions.
    "In reality people need to ask the question 'why are you fighting on the weekends?' The answer is going to be different for everyone."
    Jacob now speaks in schools about his experience and in December gave a talk to the TED conference.
    He remains in touch with James's parents.

    For those affected by one-punch deaths, the end of the court process can signal the end of formal support and counselling.
    That lack of support contributed to Ann Bartlett setting up One Punch Can Kill in 2010.
    Her son, Kyle, a 21-year-old Royal Navy sailor, suffered a fatal brain injury after being punched in Portsmouth on 5 May 2009.
    "Our message is: 'Be a hero and walk away from a fight'", Ann says.

    The question of how the number of one-punch deaths can be reduced is one both Ann and Therese believe needs to be considered by lawmakers.
    Both want sentences to be toughened to match Australia, where there is a minimum of eight years for one-punch killings.

    Currently in the UK, the attacks are usually treated as manslaughter and often result in custodial sentences of fewer than five years.
    But Dr Farrant said she was doubtful specific guidelines around one-punch deaths would help.
    "We've got a very experienced judiciary who can hear and understand the nuances of individual cases that are so markedly different," she said.
    Mr Bew said the UK should consider following Australia's lead by introducing padded flooring outsides pubs, bars and nightclubs.
    But one area all four agree on is the need for a high-profile campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of one punch.
    "Perhaps they need to have signs up in nightclubs, 'think before you punch' and things like that." Therese said.
    Remembering Robert, she added: "He had such plans and he wanted to be a dad. That's never going to happen.

    "It's such a waste."

    Further reading.

  2. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I always feel terrible reading about these. Even the ones in self defense are normally accidental.

    I also wonder how much of this is is people who have nevery been taught to take a punch or learn how to breakfall. A severed artery sounds like his head must have been whipped badly, and many injuries occur when people hit the concrete flat.

    I'm never getting in a fight on the street if it can be helped. If anyone started with me know I'd walk away, and if I couldn't I think I'd just grapple or kick them in the legs.
  3. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Stories like these always make me reflect on my time in the army, when me and the lads were fighting in civvy pubs and clubs near enough every weekend. I consider it a small miracle I or my friends didn't end up in one of those headlines. Went through some real scary moments though, when people on both sides were hurt bad. Far too jaded to even remotely entertain the idea of getting into a real fight these days.
  4. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    The above replies are why this was posted in the self defence forum.
  5. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Well I think statistically it's incredibly small when you think about it. Like imagine how many fights there are in a week, that number spikes on Friday and Saturday nights. You're talking what, in the thousands? Every single week. The numbers add up and these are the statistical anomalies as a result.
  6. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    When I read these stories I always wonder , if one of us as martial artists were ever unlucky enough to find ourselves in this situation , would we be judged more severely as we would be considered more capable ?
  7. Rataca100

    Rataca100 Banned Banned

    The issue is and i semi sufer from this. Some parts of your body and the body in general is tough and resilient when you expect it to be weak and weak when you expect it to be tough.

    I am kind of willing to agree/state it would be uncommon. I kind of want to see more research done into this by doctors. I also wonder how many of these cases involved people 30+ and how many had any sort of brain issue. I dont consider it a one punch kill if the person falls and gets killed that way though or bleeds out as the punch didnt technically kill them. A punch can kill, but its to the toughest bone and the most protected organ in our body. How many people get killed in boxing or MMA? (not a lot i suspect, granted they are gloved but still)

    Just have to look out to see if its being made a issue when it is not. A good method for prevention would be to teach children about the capacities of the human body better.

    [edit:] If you can find out if there is research being conducted by doctors into this matter to see if there are any trend could you link it?
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
  8. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

    I've bumped into 2 cases of this over the years.

    1) a 45 + male stepped between 2 twenty somethings and got punched in the process. He fell, hit his head and died. I believe a charge of manslaughter was placed on the person who threw the punch.

    2) a karate classmate was in the bar buying a sack of beer. He got called a racial slur and an altercation occurred. He was winning and the guys brother stepped in , hit him and feel down. He died from the punch/fall. No charges were laid.

    Far more common than one would like to think.

  9. Agoge

    Agoge Valued Member

    Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of these types of incidents occur in bars with one or both of the subject being intoxicated.

    I've been involved with the investigative side of some and they are always bad for all involved. The worst part is that neither party would have acted the way they did if they weren't to the point where they were acting in a fashion they wouldn't have if they weren't drunk. At the end of the day, those types of incidents are solely in the hand of the prosecutor and how they want to pursue charges.
  10. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Statistically, yeah I agree with you. The way some of those guys went down though... makes me cringe even now thinking about it. Remember this one time a big Fijian lad called Izzy dropped a civvy with a single punch, never seen someone fall like that. The sound of Izzy's fist connecting with the other guy's skull was like a water balloon hitting pavement (a loud wet snap, or like clapping with wet hands).
  11. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I wonder how many of these deaths were the falling and the head hitting the concrete or a table vs the type where the punch itself was fatal?

    I get the falling and hitting your head one, and I suspect that is most of these deaths. The other one? How often does that one happen?

    I mean Martial artists all over the world practice head contact hits all the time and no one has died from this one punch knockout, have they? Some have died from repeated head trauma, but not the one punch trauma?

    Is it the training in how to take a punch as Chadderz suggests?

    As for the legal aspect, yeah, it is almost always stupid bar brawls or something similar. So, don't go out and drink and get in a fight. Easy. I mean, if I was out shopping at night, was confronted in a parking lot and defended myself and something like this happened, I am pretty sure there would be no charges. But in a bar brawl, yeah- more than one life gets ruined.
  12. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Can only speak about here, but here that's more of an urban legend.

    My Karate coach mentions it more or less regularly, that "we" have to be even more careful, when we defend ourselves, but I believe more in what my (unfortunately former) JJ teacher told me: It's rubbish.
    Since he works at customs and has to know stuff like this, I tend to take him more serious about it.

    He also mentioned, that if it were true, he himself would be in prison by now, because he had dofend himself off-duty already as well.

    "We" are allowed to defend ourselves, just like everybody else.
    "We" also don't have to warn people three times, that we do a MA, even though some people still claim that to be a law as well :rolleyes:
  13. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    No , I'm not referring to all the silly registering your hands as deadly weapons nonsense and associated urban myths.
    What I'm thinking of is in these modern times the prosecution s likely to look at your social media accounts , the jury also (even though they're expressly told not to) , and as I found when I did jury service a couple of years ago , the general public and the judiciary are woefully misinformed when it comes to real martial arts and tend to believe in moviefu.
    What concerns me is the possibility of them realising we're "trained" and either assume we did it on purpose or imply that we "should have known better".
  14. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Well, we don't have something like a jury in court.
    We only have lawyers and judges, so what a jury might think is not having influence.

    My Karate coach mentions, that judges give harsher punishment, when they see "Oh, martial artist", but that's where I tend to trust more in the words of my former teacher, who says that's not the case either.
  15. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Can anyone point to any articles or any evidence at all that anyone was sentenced more harshly due to their MA training?
  16. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    I think what bothered me was that it was an essentially an assault case , and the defence argument centred around the defendant (who was bigger than me as reference for those who've met me) couldn't have broken the plaintiffs jaw with a slap !
    They actually said that , and the judge seemed to be in agreement that unless you actually punched someone a broken jaw was unlikely.
  17. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

  18. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    In the UK we have the SD rational of "reasonable force" if you have Martial art skills, it could be argued, that you could reasonably used a lower level of force.

    Thats obviously very debatable, but it is a possibility.
  19. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

  20. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    You want to check out Reddit's subforum "Not The Onion." It's filled with bat poop crazy real life news stories.

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