“Garry lost his life, my daughters lost their father and I lost a husband.”
Helen Newlove
It’s Friday 10 August 2007.
In the afternoon, a gang of lads gathers in the local park. They’re drinking strong lager. Fuelled up, they go to an off license. Despite some of the group being under age, the gang now have several bottles of cider.
One of the gang will consume 3-5 litres of 7.5% proof cider. He is 18-year-old unemployed Adam Swellings. He’s one of the oldest and what passes for their leader. They call him ‘Swellhead’. ‘Swellhead’ has just been released on police bail at midday.
The hot summer’s day dehydrates and exaggerates the effects of the alcohol. The gang embark on a spree of violence along the back alleys, parks and streets they think is their territory.
A Police Community Support Officer stops them in their tracks. He confiscates all of their alcohol. As soon as the Officer is gone, they simply buy more. They spot two teenagers. Before the two can run, one of them is punched.
The gang moves on. They find three teenagers at a bus stop. One of them is disabled. They shout and swear at them forcing them down the street. They separate off the disabled boy. They punch and kick him to the ground.
They then relax in the main park, smoking and drinking. They head off to a local pub where a large number of youths are already sitting on benches outside. The pub is close to where Garry Newlove and his family live.
Garry’s eighteen-year-old daughter Zoe isn’t at home as she’s working at IKEA. His wife Helen has gone to bed early feeling tired and unwell. As she doesn’t like the TV Talent Show on that night, Garry, Danielle and Amy are happy enough that they’ll be able to watch the final without her minding. Garry takes her up a boiled egg and makes sure she’s all right. Helen’s touched. She’s looking forward to watching her favourite TV programme; a murder mystery series.
It’s now nearly 10:40pm.
The gang are walking up Garry’s road. They break a light on a neighbour’s car. They move on. Then one kicks Helen’s car.
Inside, the family hears breaking glass. It sounds like it’s going to be the usual tense Friday night. Helen shouts down to Garry asking him to see what’s happening. Garry replies with the last words he will ever say to his wife:
“Yup, not a problem, I’ll just go and check.”
Barefooted, Garry goes out and demands to know which one of the gang damaged his wife’s Renault Scenic. The gang simply laugh at him. They circle him, shouting and swearing and goading him. One of them, Adam Swellings comes up from behind.
He is the first to punch him.
Once this line is crossed, the rest attack as a pack. Garry is kneed in the back and he falls to his knees. Now he’s at the right height for them to kick him in his head.
At the same time, Zoe returns home from work with her boyfriend. They try to intervene. But the frenzied gang make it clear that nothing will stop them. There’s nothing Amy and Danielle can do. They can only watch in horror as each of the 14 blows to Garry’s head is inflicted. Garry has instinctively pulled himself into the foetal position.
Sorton kicks Garry on the ground so hard that he loses his trainer under his beaten body. In total, Garry receives 40 internal injuries. His hands are bruised from trying to protect himself.
“They did not stop kicking Mr Newlove even while he was lying on the ground dying from his injuries."
Ian Rushton, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Cheshire
In just two minutes, Garry has head and other injuries inflicted that will end his life.
As Garry isn’t reacting anymore, the gang move off. They go straight to a chip shop for their dinner. 15-year-old Danielle cradles her dying father in her arms.
Amy runs inside and screams for an ambulance. She collapses.
Zoe’s boyfriend gives mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Garry.
The ambulance arrives. They stretcher in Garry. Helen tries to join him in the back of the ambulance. But Garry starts to fail and the crew have to ask her to step down.
Helen, in shock, sits on the curb and phones her family screaming that Garry’s hurt.
Then they’re in A&E and they’re asking Helen to go into the family room but she’s seen the BBC medical drama ‘Casualty’ and she knows that you only go in there for bad news and she doesn’t want to go but the nurses persuade her in.
A doctor enters and says that Garry is in a coma. His pupil is dilated and bleeding.
Helen asks her to see her husband.
“It’s horrible. You see the neck collar, but his head was so swollen...it made me feel physically sick. I still say to this day that there was a footprint on his forehead that was a footprint of a trainer.”
A violent kick to the back of Garry’s head has caused a brain haemorrhage.
Amy writes a letter to her father begging him to come back to her:
“I know you can fight this as you are a strong, loving man who knows me no matter what. I will stick by you while you are in hospital and I will take care of mummy.”
Helen takes her daughters to see their father. She doesn’t want their last memory to be of their father broken and bleeding on a dirty floor. They all kiss, cuddle and hug him.
The family hold a bedside vigil. Garry had battled and beaten stomach cancer. He had confronted a street gang. But the brain haemorrhage they’d inflicted was fatal. Helen is told that her husband is brain dead.
She agrees to switch off his life support.
Two days after asking some boys to stop kicking a car, Garry Newlove stops breathing.