A man has been jailed for the manslaughter of Wayne Sheppard who died after he was attacked in Wiltshire.

Darren John Fell, of Hewitt Court in Devizes, was sentenced to nine years in prison for the manslaughter of the 44-year-old father of two, who lived in Waiblingen Way, after being found guilty during a hearing at Winchester Crown Court.

On July 2, 2022, Fell, 40, attacked Wayne in New Park Street after a short verbal exchange between the two.

He struck Wayne in the face, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the concrete floor, suffering a brain injury he was unable to recover from.

Paramedics were called to the scene and rushed Wayne to hospital where he died six days later.

The Devizes local, known as Bert to his friends, was described by his family as a “happy go lucky man who had a kind nature.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Wayne SheppardWayne Sheppard (Image: Wiltshire Police)In a victim impact statement provided to the court, his parents Sandy and Pete revealed the pain the incident had caused them.

They said: “No parent wants to bury their child, I never thought that we would lose our son. We miss him every day and life has not been the same since he was assaulted.

“The hardest five days of our lives were sitting by Wayne’s bedside knowing that he was not going to survive his injuries.

“I miss seeing Wayne’s face at the front window pulling silly faces when he used to come over for a roast dinner. I often look up hoping to see him for a split second but then I remember, and I feel a pang in my heart and it hurts all over again.”

Wayne’s parents went on to say that they could not forgive the violent act that led to their son’s death.

They added: “Wayne was not perfect, and he had some troubles, but he had a heart of gold.

"We will always miss him; we find it hard that his two daughters will now have to go through life without their dad and we will have to carry on with our lives without our son.

“Wayne was taken from us because of a violent act that he did not deserve, and this is something we cannot forgive.”

After Wayne was rushed to hospital, further tests revealed his injuries were likely to have been caused by an assault, sparking a police investigation.

Extensive CCTV enquiries and witness statements led detectives to identify Fell as the perpetrator.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Darren FellDarren Fell (Image: Wiltshire Police)Police say Wayne presented no danger to anyone and Fell was not acting in self-defence.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Walker added that Fell had shown “little remorse for his actions.”

The 40-year-old will serve two-thirds of his sentence behind bars before being eligible for parole.

DCI Walker warned of the dangers of using violence against others.

He added: “This incident was a huge shock to the local close-knit community of Devizes, of which Wayne was a popular member. He was a well-liked and well-known man and I know news of his death was extremely upsetting for all who knew him.

“This incident demonstrates that one punch can kill and I would urge people to think twice before resorting to violence.  One punch can have devastating consequences as has sadly been demonstrated in this case. 

“My thoughts are with Wayne’s family and friends at this tragic time – whilst nothing will ever bring Wayne back, I hope that news of this sentence will bring them some form of closure to what has been an incredibly upsetting and distressing time.”