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Two Men Jailed for 19 Years Following Assault on Pensioner

Leonard Holmes was fatally beaten to death by two men in their twenties, just yards away from his home in April last year.

Attacked Near His Home

Holmes, a grandfather of three, suffered face and head injuries after he was attacked by Jacob Harvard and Matthew Fereday, following a family night out. The pair assaulted Holmes once he had been dropped off in a taxi, just a few meters from his front door.

The attack left Mr Holmes in a vegetative state, from which he never regained consciousness. Mr Holmes passed away in his care home in February of this year.


Last week, Harvard, 22 and Fereday, 25, were jailed for a total of 19 years. Harvard, of Newcastle-under-Lyme was sentenced to 10 years, whilst Fereday, of Stoke-on-Trent, received a sentence of 9 years in in prison. Both pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempted robbery at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

The court heard how the pair verbally abused Mr Holmes as he returned home following a family get together, demanding his money and mobile phone before carrying out their physical attack on the pensioner.

Following the assault, Mr Holmes was found lying unconscious on the floor by a passer-by, whilst Harvard and Fereday made their getaway in a black Volkswagen Golf and spent the rest of their evening drinking alcohol.

Cause of Death

According to doctors, Mr Holmes had sustained damage to his brain, caused by blunt force trauma. The court heard how Mr Holmes then also contracted several chest infections that turned into bronchopneumonia – this disease ultimately led to his death.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Holmes’ son, Jade Alcock, said:

‘He was on his own and causing no problem to anyone. He was only a few yards from his front door. He was no threat to anyone.

‘He hardly ever went out. That night would have been the first night he went out in months. He spent ten months on life support. I had to watch him suffer.

‘I have stopped sleeping and have been prescribed tablets. I struggle to eat. The attack and death of my father has deeply affected my three children.

‘I have been sent home from work on a few occasions due to my emotional condition. I cannot stop thinking about what happened. I will never be the same again.’

Mr Holmes’ brother, Peter, described how their family had to watch him ‘suffer in a coma and on life support’ and how ‘this was torture for us’.

Marlene Heath, Leonard and Peter Holmes’ sister, spoke on behalf of the family after sentencing. She said:

‘It is very difficult to express our feelings towards these two young men.

‘Lenny was a kind and decent hardworking man who was travelling home from a family function when he was attacked by Harvard and Fereday because they wanted to steal his belongings.

‘There was no need to do what they did to him and our family has gone through hell watching Lenny being cared for and unable to communicate or move.’

Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson, of Staffordshire Police, told of how she had ‘no doubt the intention of these two men was to rob Lenny’. She added:

‘Without warning or provocation they viciously attacked him as he walked home, subjecting him to both a verbal, and physical, attack. Lenny was in no position to defend himself and sustained significant injuries.

‘For ten months his family sat by his bedside in the hope he would regain consciousness and be a part of their lives once again.

‘Sadly that didn’t happen and unfortunately he passed away in February. The sentence is to be welcomed and I hope it brings some form of closure to Lenny’s family and friends.’

Criminal Injuries – Expert Advice

We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.

There is however a government scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families at this tragic time. The scheme is called CICA (The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority). Once your claim is accepted by Hampson Hughes Solicitors, we will liaise with CICA on your behalf.

If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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