A LAW student who punched a man and left him for dead lying in a road with severe brain injuries was yesterday afternoon convicted of manslaughter and he was jailed for six years.

Ryan Cooper, 21, at student at Southampton University, had denied a charge of manslaughter of Gary Stacey.

Today a jury at Winchester Crown Court convicted him of the charge.

The trial at Winchester Crown Court heard how the incident unfolded in Newport on February 14 last year.

Cooper, a third-year law student at Southampton University, assaulted Mr Stacey, 49, from Carisbrooke, in the street in the early hours after a night out with friends.

Cooper, from Newport, on the Isle of Wight, was walking down the street with three friends, when Mr Stacey, who was eating a takeaway at the time and Cooper’s friend Alex Wright got into conversation.

The court heard that Cooper threw two punches at Mr Stacey, which he claims were in self defence, and then left the scene with Mr Stacey lying motionless in the road.

Outlining the case prosecutor Andy Houston said that Mr Stacey posed no threat to Cooper.

Mr Houston said: “Gary Stacey was a 49-year-old when he went out in Newport town centre.

“It was the night before he died in Southampton General Hospital, never regaining consciousness after he had been punched by this defendant. “On that Saturday he had gone out into Newport and got drunk.

"He was around twice the drink drive limit and he was on his way home with food from a takeaway called Bite Size at around 4am in the morning.

“He had the misfortune to bump into this defendant in the street. He had something in his left hand when the defendant struck him with one or two punches.

“We say that the defendant threw two punches - it is probable that one missed but the one that landed was a hard punch. It was severe enough to fracture his left eye socket and forced him to fall and hit the back of his head on the road surface, which caused a skull fracture and severe brain damage.”

“Fifteen minutes after Mr Stacey picked up his takeaway he was as good as dead.”

The court heard that Mr Stacey died a day later at Southampton General Hospital.