Drunk thug who attacked ‘murder victim’ walks free

Police at the scene of Mr Whitelaw's death on Regent Road.
Police at the scene of Mr Whitelaw's death on Regent Road.
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A defendant who punched a man, who later died following another alleged attack, has walked free from court.

Jack Tindall spent four and a half months on remand after initially being charged with the murder of 46-year-old James Whitelaw in Blackpool last year.

But the murder charge was dropped earlier this year and Tindall, 22, instead pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding for an unprovoked assault on Mr Whitelaw, which happened three days before he was found slumped in an alleyway behind Regent Road.

Preston Crown Court heard Tindall, of Bedford Road, North Shore, had got Mr Whitelaw in a headlock and punched him in the head after coming across him in the Regent Road area on November 20. The victim fell, causing a wound to the back of his head, before staggering away.

Mr Whitelaw, who was from Glasgow, had died when Tindall was arrested on November 30, on suspicion of murder.

Jacob Dyer, defending, said the time spent on remand was traumatic for Tindall due to the fact he had been charged with murder.

Tindall was sentenced to a community order involving 18 months supervision.

• A 43-year-old man Blackpool man has been charged with murder. He is currently awaiting trial after an alleged attack on Mr Whitelaw in the same week as Tindall’s assault.

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‘Terrible consequences of drink’

Judge Anthony Russell QC told Tindall: “You were in custody for some months, thinking you were facing a charge of murder and in your own mind, knowing that was an unjust allegation made against you.

“It must have been distressing.”

The judge said he was impressed that since being granted bail, Tindall had recognised drinking was his problem and admitted he was therefore passing an exceptional sentence.

He added: “Getting drunk and committing offences of violence can have terrible consequences.”

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