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'Cage fighting should be banned' say family of Kevin Wyeth who was killed by fighter Damon Wright
THE grieving family of a Hampshire dad killed by a vicious cage fighter are today calling for the sport to be regulated or even banned.
Speaking after killer Damon Wright was jailed for ten years, they said those practising it should be vetted to avoid violent criminals taking it up.
He then hit the Saints groundsman and dad of three with such “severe force” that his face shattered and his brain was left “significantly damaged”.
The injuries were so severe Kevin's own family struggled to identify him after he was found dead last August.
During his trial Wright, who is trained in eight different martial arts disciplines, admitted that he had delivered the blows that killed the dad-of-three, saying that he threw with “everything” he had.
Wright was sentenced to ten years with a four-year extended licence after jurors cleared him of murder but returned a guilty verdict on a manslaughter charge.
Passing sentence, Judge Guy Boney dubbed cage fighting as a "savage activity where anything goes" and that it appealed to Wright because he was "a man of violence".
He said: "It was a sustained attack in an isolated location, your victim never stood a chance.
"I have no doubt that your intention was violence and the extent of violence was illustrated in the nature of the injuries and of death.
"You are an experienced cage fighter and have some experience, quite enough in your cage fighting career that you knew what you were doing, that it was carrying a risk of serious injury or death even if you did not intend any of those circumstances."
Wright, 32, who was medically discharged from the Army when he was 18, himself admitted in court that he had a short fuse and that he had lost his temper when he didn't get his own way.
Over the past decade Wright has notched up a catalogue of conviction for beatings and assaults on men, women, children and even an unborn baby.
With such a violent background, Kevin's family are amazed that he was allowed to take part in cage fighting, which they believe turned his fists into a lethal weapon.
They are now calling on the controversial sport to be better regulated because Wright, with his background of violence, should never have been allowed to become a competitor.
Dad Kevin said: "Any other martial arts you have to have a licence. He should never have been able to join a club. He gives a bad name to martial arts."
Along with mum Linda Timberlake, he feels it should even be banned.
"It comes from America, it is a violent thing," Kevin said.
Linda said: "You can't justify the fact that people are willing to break arms and go unconscious. It's laughable."
Wright, 32, was cleared of the charge of murder by a majority decision from the jury but they did not accept his claim that he acted in self-defence when he carried out the vicious attack.
During sentencing yesterday, Wright showed no emotion as he stood in the dock dressed in a dark suit and tie.
Speaking about the sentence, Linda said the sentence was the best that could be given after the manslaughter verdict. The family had wanted a conviction for murder and a life sentence.
She said: "I would have liked it to be a murder charge. I think he was guilty of that, there's no question of that.
"This chap is a danger to the public with 32 previous convictions and a lot for violence and the fact he did cage fighting demonstrates he would was a violent man. Nothing will bring back my son."
Holding back tears, Sister Leanne said: "He (Wright) should never be allowed out again, I hope he rots. It's been devastating.
"It has been the most heart breaking time in my life.
"He's my little brother and he's not here anymore. He was a cheeky, fun, happy, and loved his children."
A post mortem revealed that Kevin suffered “appalling” injuries, including multiple fractures to his face, including his jaw in pieces on both sides and even the small bone at the base of his tongue was broken.
Pathologist Amanda Jeffery gave evidence at the trial, stating the lack of defensive injuries to Kevin suggested he was rendered unconscious early on in the beating.
Wright took more than two hours before he called an ambulance for his victim - at first calling a taxi to the spot where he had left him unconscious in the hope they would find him and avoid directly connecting him to it.
While paramedics battled in vain in the early hours of August 24 to save Kevin, Wright was heading to Poole, where he was caught on CCTV demonstrating what he has just done to Kevin to his friend.
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