News

Man sentenced to life for murder

13 Oct 2016 12:00 PM

Ronnie Howard (1) [View Full Size]

A man has today been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 16 years for the murder of South Shields man, Ronnie Howard.

Michael Anthony Wilson, aged 34, of Hylton Avenue in South Shields was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to 00. He also pleaded guilty to affray.

David Wood, 29, of Sunderland Road in South Shields; Anthony Kenrick, 33, of Centenary Avenue, South Shields and Paul John Haley, 27, of Ascot Gardens, South Shields have also been jailed for assault. Wood was sentenced to 20 months, Kenrick 20 months and Haley 18 months.

31 year-old, Ronnie Howard was found unconscious on Wednesday, May 4, after a disturbance inside the Prince Edward pub in Prince Edward Road in South Shields.

Ronnie was taken to hospital where he was sadly later pronounced dead.

Detective Inspector Alan Cairns said :"We welcome today's outcome and we hope this gives the family some closure. This has been the most difficult time for them and, with the added trauma of going through a trial, it has hugely impacted on them. But they have remained completely dignified throughout the case and I commend their bravery and composure through the most trying of circumstances.

"I hope this provides some sort of solace for them and I want to stress that victims are our absolute priority and to see justice for them today is exactly what we aim to achieve."

FAMILY STATEMENT

"During the course of these last few months rumours and speculation have run riot on social media. We as a family would like the facts known to members of the public, facts made known in a court of law.

"Ronnie Howard was a much loved personality, fun loving, gentle, kind hearted and generally the life and soul, much loved son, brother, cousin, uncle and his greatest achievement - father.

"The events of that fateful night were shown in court on CCTV as Ronnie entered The Prince Edward public house in South Shields. On entering the bar Ronnie engages in conversation with several people, lots of lots of hand shaking and pats on the back ensue, on the surface it looks as if people are going about the night and enjoying themselves.

"Ronnie is seen to be having a conversation at the jukebox with Michael Wilson, this took place for the best part of 10 minutes and shows no sign of a troubled exchange of words.

"All the while Ronnie’s hands are never removed from his pockets. It is then that another man comes over and things start to look heated, again Ronnie is stood still hands in his pockets watching his friend.

"What happens next is put to us on a split screen, we clearly see Michael Wilson takes a short run and punch Ronnie twice in the side of the head, Ronnie did not appear to see the punch coming due to where Michael Wilson was stood.

"On the other screen the impact of the punch is visible as Ronnie is lifted off his feet and falls to the floor where he endures a kick, in the background all hell breaks loose as Ronnie is taking his last breath.

"These are the facts, no rumours, no speculation and the family ask for privacy whilst they try to rebuild their lives."

View the full news release