Sunday, 4 December 2011


                               JOHN DEAN RICHARDSON (RING LEADER)

In October 2011, Five men were jailed for life for a brutal gang attack that left a former soldier dead.

A judge sentenced the gang for the vicious murder of 22-year-old Ian Smith, which saw him beaten with a pickaxe handle, kicked and left for dead with massive head injuries.

John Dean Richardson 44, of Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam, Bradley Parkin, 22, of Mallard Mews, South Elmsall, Neil Brown, 29, also of Mallard Mews, and Liam Ackroyd, 22, of Bell Lane, Ackworth, were all found guilty of murder after a three-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

John Simon Richardson, 23 – son of John Dean – of Kinsley House Crescent, Fitzwilliam, had already pleaded guilty to murder.

At the trial, the court was told that Mr Smith was attacked in the early hours of February 19 after being chased through South Elmsall town centre.

That evening he had been out with his family celebrating his aunt’s 60th birthday.

He had been involved in a dispute at the Mega Love takeaway with John Dean Richardson, who moments earlier had phoned Brown and the other three men following an argument with a group of unconnected youths.

Mr Smith punched the elder Richardson twice and pushed him to the ground before the four men arrived in a van and a car.

When they arrived, John Dean Richardson told Mr Smith: “Now it’s your turn.”

John Simon Richardson took a pick axe handle from the van and the group gave chase before carrying out the attack.

Mr Smith suffered severe head injuries after being repeatedly struck with the pickaxe handle, as well as being kicked in the head.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, set the minimum terms that each must serve before being eligible to apply for parole.

John Simon Richardson was told he must serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years.

John Dean Richardson must serve 14 years, while Parkin was told he must serve 18 years, Brown 17 and Ackroyd 16.

Passing sentence, the judge said: “This was a mob-handed attack upon a man who was unarmed and alone.

“Furthermore, it was committed at night and in a public place where there were other people present; some of them were young people; some of them were friends of the victim and saw this terrible ending of his life.”

He added: “Having rendered him senseless, you all fled the scene.”

The jury of six men and six women took more than 18 hours to reach unanimous verdicts at the trial.

Members of Mr Smith’s family bowed their heads and fought back tears as the sentences were read out.