A teenager has been convicted of murder and four others were found guilty of manslaughter after they subjected a father to a sustained attack as he walked home with his partner.
They had shared a joke with Danny Humble, 35, that he looked like the TV presenter Ant McPartlin moments before the attack on Friday May 28 last year.
Mr Humble had been out for a meal and drinks in Cramlington, Northumberland, after lockdown rules were relaxed, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
The teenagers, then aged 16 to 18, surrounded him near an underpass, repeatedly kicked him on the floor and left him with a “catastrophic” head injury from which he could not recover, jurors were told.
35-year-old Danny Humble was subject to a sustained attack as he walked home with his partner. Northumbria Police
Ex-soldier Alistair Dickson, 18, of Hawkins Way, Blyth, Northumberland, was convicted of murder after jurors heard he stamped on Mr Humble’s head.
The jury cleared his co-defendants of murder but found them guilty of manslaughter.
They were 18-year-olds Ethan Scott, of Chester Grove, Blyth; Kyros Robinson, from Woodside Avenue, Seaton Delaval; Bailey Wilson, of Mitford Avenue, Blyth; and a 17-year-old who cannot be identified by the media due to his age.
Moments before the attack, Mr Humble was the subject of a joke when one of the teenagers said he looked like Ant from Ant and Dec.
There was no trouble at that point but shortly after Mr Humble tried to punch one of the group, then aged 16, before he himself was knocked to the floor.
Mr Justice Bennathan told the defendants that “significant custodial” terms would follow when they are sentenced at a later date.
A group of teenagers joked Mr Humble looked like Ant from Ant and Dec before carrying out their attack. Northumbria Police
Earlier in the trial Izaak Little, 18, of Blackthorn Drive, Blyth, and a 17-year-old defendant were cleared at the direction of the judge.
Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Brooks, of Northumbria Police, said: “This is a truly tragic case in which a father lost his life and our thoughts very much remain with Danny’s heartbroken family and loved ones.
“Danny was a very respected member of the Cramlington community and leaves behind two completely devastated children, a committed partner, loving family and countless friends.
“This has been a complex investigation that has relied on the support of the community to come forward as witnesses and assist with the case – and I would like to thank people for their assistance.”
She added: “So many lives have been destroyed by what happened that night.
“Children have been left without a father and those responsible have caused pain and suffering for their own loved ones and shattered their own chances of a happy future.
“No one wins where violence is concerned and I want to send a clear message to anyone who believes that such actions are acceptable – the consequences are devastating and can rip lives apart.”