A COUPLE have been cleared of an allegation of murdering a “gentle giant” who died following an attack outside a Fylde coast taxi office.
But one of the defendants, Jamie Perks, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Allan Taylor following a two-week trial.
At Preston Crown Court, his girlfriend, 28-year-old hairdresser Leanne Potter was cleared of both murder and manslaughter charges, but convicted of common assault.
Judge Anthony Russell QC gave her a 12-month conditional discharge, saying she had served the equivalent of the maximum possible sentence for such an offence through time on remand and on a qualifying curfew.
She hugged and kissed her 23-year-old boyfriend Perks, also of Central Drive, Blackpool before he was led away, to be remanded in custody for sentencing in a month’s time.
A pre-sentence report will be compiled on him by the Probation Service before sentencing takes place.
The prosecution had claimed the defendants kicked or stamped on Mr Taylor inside the office of Fleetwood Taxis in the early hours of New Year’s Day last year.
The 28-year-old went on to suffer a broken ankle and was found dead from blood clots 16 weeks later at his home on Leven Avenue, Fleetwood.
Mr Taylor, a former RAF member, was described in court as a gentle giant.
On the night of New Year’s Eve 2009 he and a friend had been out in Fleetwood before going to the office of Fleetwood Taxis in the early hours to get a cab.
During the trial, taxi firm employee Leanne Henderson gave evidence to claim she saw both defendants stamping on Mr Taylor as he lay on the floor.
She suggested Perks had punched Mr Taylor, causing him to go to the ground.
She alleged Perks then stamped on the back of his head about five times, while Potter stamped on his lower body and legs a number of times.
In her evidence to the jury, Potter claimed she had never assaulted or had any contact with Mr Taylor.
She alleged a taxi driver had pushed her in the stomach after refusing to take her and her boyfriend home because they had a pizza and can of soft drink.
She claimed to have been outside the taxi office when the altercation took place. She also denied a suggestion she had jumped on Mr Taylor’s back.
Perks told the jury he had gone into the taxi office to complain about the behaviour of the taxi driver.
He claimed to have heard the words ‘Milky Bar Kid’ and ‘blonde bimbo’, believing it was aimed at him.
He alleged he was struck to the left ear and turned round to see Mr Taylor coming towards him, with his friend behind him.
Det Supt Neil Esseen of Lancashire Police said: “This is a tragic case in which a young man has lost his life and I am pleased the court has accepted Perks was involved in Allan’s death.
“Allan Taylor was described by all who knew him as being a gentle and unaggressive man.
“The court heard the full details of the violence used, which included Perks kicking and stamping on Alan, even as he lay defenceless on the floor.
“This led, amongst other injuries, to the breaking of his left ankle that ultimately led to his untimely death.”