Two men have been sentenced to 19 years imprisonment for the manslaughter and attempted robbery of a Stoke-on-Trent man.

Jacob Havard, aged 22, of Brittain Avenue in Newcastle, and Matthew Fereday, aged 25, of Moorland View, Bradeley, Stoke-on-Trent, were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today, Monday 28 September.

Jacob Havard
Jacob Havard

In August the pair pleaded not guilty to the murder of Leonard Holmes, but guilty to manslaughter and attempted robbery ahead of a scheduled trial.

Havard was sentenced to nine years in prison. Fereday got 10 years with an extended sentence of three years. This means that should he be released early he will face an additional three years on license as well as his remaining time from the 10 year sentence.

Matthew Fereday
Matthew Fereday

Mr Holmes, known to his family and friends as Lenny, died in a care home in Stoke-on-Trent in February 2015 aged 61.

He was found in Brownley Road, on the junction with Community Drive, in the early hours of Saturday 5 April 2014.

Leonard Holmes
Leonard Holmes

He had sustained extensive injuries as a result of a serious assault and never regained consciousness.

Tests established Mr Holmes had sustained blunt force trauma which led to damage to the brain. Whilst in hospital he then suffered with chest infections and ultimately developed bronchopneumonia that led to his death.


Mr Holmes had attended a family gathering on the night of Friday 4 April 2014. He was dropped off by taxi shortly after 1am on Saturday 5 April 2014 at the junction of Brownley Road/Community Drive.

A detailed police investigation established Mr Holmes was subjected to verbal abuse by the two defendants, who demanded his money and phone before they attacked him.

Havard and Fereday then ran from the scene before leaving in a black VW Golf. They spent the rest of that night drinking and socialising.

Mr Holmes, of Nellan Crescent, was found unconscious in the road by passers-by, who alerted the emergency services.

He had sustained serious head and facial injuries as a result of the attack and continued to receive medical support until his death earlier this year.

Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson, from the force’s Major Investigation Department (MID), said: “I have no doubt the intention of these two men was to rob Lenny.

“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 10 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.

“These two men caused the death of a much-loved and well known member of the Smallthorne community.

“Today’s sentence is to be welcomed and I hope it brings some form of closure to Lenny’s family and friends.

“I would like to thank members of the local community who assisted with this investigation. Information they provided, together with CCTV from the locality, helped us to piece together exactly what happened and who was responsible for Lenny’s death.”

Chief Inspector Adrian Roberts, policing commander for the Stoke North area, said: “Following this very serious incident there was a significant police presence at the scene and some local roads were cordoned off whilst the investigation was carried out.

“This was a cowardly attack on a respected member of the community which understandably caused distress to the many friends and family of Mr Holmes.

“I would again like to reiterate my thanks to the family, and local community, for the support and assistance given to the police at the time and throughout the investigation, which has enabled these offenders to be brought to justice.”

The family of Lenny Holmes said:

“As a family it is very difficult to express our feelings towards these two young men.

“Lenny was a kind and decent hard working man who was travelling home from a family function when he was attacked by Havard 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 for the last 17 months watching Lenny being cared for and unable to communicate or move.

“There is no sentence the court can impose that will compensate for losing Lenny. The family would like to thank everyone who supported us through this difficult time.”

NEWS: Man arrested after pursuit from Burton to Lichfield

Insignia 3

Officers on routine patrol came across a vehicle acting suspiciously in the Branston Road area of Burton at around 1.45am today, Friday 18 September.

They attempted to stop the vehicle but it drove off erratically and proceeded along the A38 towards Lichfield. Shortly before Lichfield additional officers were able to activate a ‘stinger’ causing all four tyres of the suspect vehicle to deflate.

However, the vehicle continued for a considerable distance onto the A5192 where it eventually came to a stop and the driver attempted to make off. After a short foot pursuit he was detained and arrested on suspicion of failing to stop, dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.

The man, a 28-year-old man from Burton, remains in custody for questioning.

NEWS: Essex man jailed after M6 drugs haul by CMPG


A man has been sentenced to six years in prison after the van he was driving was found to contain over £2 million worth of class B drugs.

Simon Brown, aged 50, of Bower Hill, Epping, Essex, was jailed at Stafford Crown Court today, Friday 28 August, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

He received four years imprisonment for possession with intent to supply Amphetamine (200kg) and 12 months for the further amount found at his home (817grams) to run concurrently. In addition, he was sentenced to two years for possession with intent to supply cannabis to run consecutively.

The discovery was made when officers from Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) carried out a routine stop of a vehicle on the southbound carriageway of the M6 near Stafford at around 10pm on Thursday 23 April.

Officers pulled the vehicle over at Stafford Services and upon searching the white Peugeot van they found nine boxes concealed amongst clothing stock. Each contained 10 to 12 packages of a suspicious substance, believed to be controlled drugs.

The driver, Brown, was arrested and taken into custody for questioning. He was charged with possession with intent to supply Class B drugs.

Tests confirmed the substance was Amphetamine, 200kg (wet weight) with the estimated street value believed to be around £2,000,000.

Further searches of Brown’s Essex home uncovered a further 817grams of Amphetamine in his garage, with an estimated street value of £8,170 and 18.5kg of Cannabis with a street value of approximately £92,500.

DC Sam Lainchbury, investigating officer, said: “This was an excellent piece of routine policing which uncovered a large amount of drugs which we believe were destined for the streets of Essex.

“Following CMPGs arrest of Brown we carried out intensive and detailed inquiries to gather the evidence against him.

“Staffordshire Police is committed to continuing the fight against drug dealers and we strive to bring them to justice. This investigation has removed a significant amount of drugs from the streets and will go some way to reducing the crimes associated with funding drug misuse, such as burglary and theft.

“Today’s sentence demonstrates our dedication to this area of policing and we hope it encourages anyone with information on drug misuse in their community to contact police, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”

Chief Inspector Jed White, of Central Motorway Police Group, said: “Our officers patrol the regions motorways 24/7 and deal with a wide variety of offences, from minor vehicle defects right through to arresting those, like Brown, who are involved in serious organised crime.

“This is a great example of how CMPG contribute to the wider policing work in the region, tackling what matters to their communities and preventing criminals using our roads for illegal purposes.”