A MAN from Newton Abbot has admitted the manslaughter of an assault victim who died after being punched.

Craig Harrison, aged 46, who is currently held on remand at Exeter Prison, admitted a single count of manslaughter when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of Timothy Smith on March 27, 2021 and was remanded in custody by Judge Stephen Climie.

He adjourned sentence until April 14, when a more senior judge will hear the case at either Exeter or Plymouth Crown Court.

He told him: ‘Obviously, you appreciate that the offence to which you have pleaded guilty is a serious offence and it is inevitable it is going to result in a significant sentence of imprisonment.

‘It is not for me to decide the length of the sentence. 

‘The case will have to be dealt with by a Class One judge, which means either a High Court judge or a circuit judge with that classification, who in able to deal with a case of manslaughter.’

Mr Richard Posner, prosecuting, said he would prepare a detailed sentencing note prior to the next hearing, at which either the deceased’s family will be present or police family liaison officers.

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said it was agreed with the prosecution that the case falls into category C in the sentencing guidelines but that he would be arguing that there were elements of category D, which is the lowest level of culpability.

Neither lawyer gave further details of the case. 

‘Guidelines published by the Sentencing Council indicate sentences of category C manslaughter have a starting point of six years with a range of between three and nine years.

Category C is defined as cases where death was caused in the course of an unlawful act which involved an intention by the offender to cause harm (or recklessness as to whether harm would be caused) that falls between high and lower culpability.

Where death was caused in the course of committing or escaping from a less serious offence but in which the offender played more than a minor role.

Category D is defined as where death was caused in the course of an unlawful act which was in defence of self or other(s) (where not amounting to a defence) or where there was no intention by the offender to cause any harm and no obvious risk of anything more than minor harm or in which the offender played a minor role or the offender’s responsibility was substantially reduced by mental disorder.