Builder killed by his friend of 50 years
A man who gave evidence in a major trial following the manslaughter of one of his best friends was yesterday found guilty of the killing himself.
Adrian Cooksey, 50, died when he struck his head on the ground after he was felled by a single punch following a drinking session in March 2009.
Life-long friend Richard Elmes, 51, gave evidence during the trial of a student originally accused of the manslaughter – but he was eventually cleared.
Elmes was then arrested after police taped his phone conversations and he was found guilty of the manslaughter yesterday after a trial at Bristol Crown Court.
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Detective Inspector Ian Saunders, from Wiltshire Police, speaking after the verdict, said: “For three years Richard Elmes continually and deliberately lied about his involvement to police. He lied under oath at the trial of a young man he knew was not responsible for Adrian’s death. Adrian was assaulted in the early hours of March 8, 2009, in Spa Road, Melksham and later died from his injuries.
“The two men had been socialising together and were on their way home. There was an argument between them which resulted in Elmes delivering the blow which caused Adrian to fall and hit his head. Elmes then left the scene – he made no attempt to get Adrian any medical help.”
Bristol Crown Court heard the pair – who struck up a close friendship when they were only six years old – had been out on a drinking session in March 2009.
Elmes said he was too drunk to remember what happened to father-of-three Mr Cooksey and insisted he had not been at the scene
He later gave evidence at the trial of student Tom Minshull, who was charged with Mr Cooksey’s manslaughter but cleared by a jury, in November 2009.
Suspicions were raised over Elmes’ evidence and gaps in CCTV footage suggested he could have been there when Mr Cooksey, a builder, recieved the fatal blow.
A fresh investigation was launched and Elmes admitted “telling porkies” to detectives and perjury in the previous case.
A jury convicted Elmes of manslaughter following a two-week trial. He will be sentenced next month.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kier Pritchard, head of protective services at Wiltshire Police, said: “We are pleased that the man responsible for Adrian Cooksey’s death has been brought to justice.”