Killer yob had string of convictions at 15

A TEENAGER who killed a popular Mirfield footballer was binge drinking with fellow gang members on the night of the attack – despite a court supervision order and curfew.

Fifteen-year-old Kyle Smith had a string of previous offences including criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon and resisting a police officer.

Smith, of Ashenhurst Avenue, Huddersfield, admitted Ross Wood's manslaughter at Leeds Crown Court on May 12.

Last Friday he was told he would serve two-and-a-half years in a detention centre for the unprovoked attack on Ross.

Judge Scott Wolstenholme said: "The consequences of your actions have been truly dreadful, cutting short the life of a young man and inflicting terrible suffering on his family."

Ross was celebrating a birthday with friends on November 16 and travelled by taxi to the HQ nightclub in Huddersfield Road at around midnight.

Outside he was confronted by a gang of youths, including Smith, who struck him on the right-hand side of his face in an unprovoked attack.

The single blow knocked Ross, 22, backwards and he hit his head on the ledge of a shop window and then the pavement.

Others in Smith's group, known locally as the London Park Gang, stole Ross's mobile phone.

Ross fractured his skull and sustained serious brain injuries. He died three days later in Leeds General Infirmary despite the efforts of medical staff.

Prosecuting, Jonathan Gibson read a statement by Ross's mum, Sam Wood, that said it was hard to describe the impact of losing him.

She said: "If only those who perpetrate such crimes could understand what they inflict on the family and not just the victim. Ross touched so many people in such a positive way."

Mr Gibson added that Smith was already the subject of a supervision order and curfew.

Sean Morris, mitigating, said Smith, formerly of Mirfield, had fallen in with a bad crowd and had drunk almost half a bottle of vodka on the night of the attack.

He said: "Although he's had his troubles, fundamentally he is not a bad or evil person."

He added that Smith had made a "heartfelt" change of plea to guilty because his conscience was troubled by what he had done.

The court heard Smith had not been in trouble since the offence and was making considerable progress under an intense supervision order.

Judge Wolstenholme said Smith had been "running wild" since he became a teenager and had convictions for "loutish behaviour".

He said the supervision order and curfew had not deterred him from binge drinking and getting involved in "gratuitous drunken violence".

But he gave credit for the guilty plea and the good progress he had made since his arrest.

A second man, Liam McCarthy, 18, of Oliver Gardens, Mirfield, was previously given a 10-month sentence for affray, to run concurrently with an 18-month sentence for breaching his Asbo, in relation to events on that night.