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Brierley Hill man jailed for five years over Thorns Road manslaughter
4:59pm Wednesday 18th December 2013 in Local
A BRIERLEY Hill man who was armed with a hammer when he chased a terrified father-of-two to his death under the wheels of a lorry has been jailed for five years.
Garret Fitzpatrick responded to a call for help from a teenage workmate he believed was being threatened with a machete by 26-year-old Sartaj Aziz.
He was waving the hammer above his head when he went after Mr Aziz, who died instantly when he was hit by the 38-ton lorry in the horrific incident in Thorns Road, Quarry Bank.
Sarah Buckingham, defending, said: "He took the hammer to confront the deceased. The death of Mr Aziz was entirely accidental."
She told Wolverhampton Crown Court: "One step forward and Fitzpatrick would have been under the wheels of the lorry himself.
"He never intended it to end in this way or to cause any harm to Mr Aziz. He just thought there would be a row."
Fitzpatrick, of Bank Street, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Aziz, who lived with his family in Prescott Road, Stourbridge.
Joanne Barker, prosecuting, said Mr Aziz was with friends on the forecourt of the Formula One car wash in Thorns Road when Fitzpatrick pulled up in his car.
He was carrying the hammer and he shouted at Mr Aziz, who was sitting in a vehicle: "Get out of the car or I will kill you."
Mr Aziz was so frightened he fled as fast as he could but his view of the road was obscured by a row of large conifer trees, Miss Barker said.
She added: "Tragically that meant he was unable to see the lorry and in panic he ran out and he was killed. Fitzpatrick was close behind him and he almost ran into the lorry but he was just able to stop."
When interviewed after his arrest as he was on his way to the police station Fitzpatrick told officers his friend had called to say there was trouble with Mr Aziz - a man he had known for about 12 months and did not like.
Fitzpatrick said they were not friends but they were not enemies adding that he intended to fight but he was not going to use the hammer.
Judge John Warner, jailing Fitzpatrick, described tragedy as an "unusual case" and told him: "You received a call from a friend who said he was having issues with Mr Aziz and you were obviously prepared to involve yourself in that dispute."
He said Mr Aziz was in such fear of him and the threatening way he was behaving that he tried "frantically to escape. In his desperate attempts to get away he ran into the path of this lorry".
Miss Buckingham told the court Fitzpatrick was racked with guilt and full of remorse at his actions.
"Every day he will think about Mr Aziz", she said, adding that the conifer trees obscured the view.
With the adrenalin pumping, Fitzpatrick did not think about it as he gave chase, she said, adding: "One or two seconds later and the road would have been clear."
The court heard Mr Aziz's family had been devastated by his death, with his mother saying he would be sorely missed "forever and a day."
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