Six men have been found guilty of killing a young man in Sedgley last summer.
Shane Jones, 26, Wayne Burke, 23, Shaquel Halliday, 22, Adam Ashwin, 20 and Sebastian Jones, 19, were all convicted of murdering the father of one on 15 August last year. Ryan Nickin, 22, was found guilty of manslaughter.
Reece Cox, 24, had been on a night out with friends in Sedgley and during the evening ended up in the Clifton Public House.
Towards the end of the night, they all decided to go off and get food separately before going home.
Two people that Reece had met that night set off towards a taxi rank to wait for a cab when one of them accidentally bumped into a teen called Joe Williams.
At this, the group attacked one of the men, with Ashwin dragging him into the road and back towards The Clifton.
Reece - described as a man ‘who would always step in to help if he didn’t like what he saw’ - stepped in to help.
Ashwin and his friends turned their attention to Reece and violently beat him to death. A post mortem revealed that Reece died from blunt trauma to his head.
A jury took just five and a half hours to find all six men guilty of killing Reece. Shane Jones, Wayne Burke, Shaquel Halliday, Adam Ashwin, Sebastian Jones and Ryan Nickin were also convicted of violent disorder and causing actual bodily harm.
At the start of the trial, two other men Tyrone Halliday, aged 24, and Joe Williams, aged 18, pleaded guilty to affray and causing actual bodily harm retrospectively.
Reece’s family has released this tribute: “Reece was a gentle giant. Never aggressive but would step up and front anything that wasn’t right. He would always go out of his way to help others.
“Reece’s partner and son have had their whole future as a family taken away from them. On the day he died, it was the couple’s six year anniversary of when they first met and what would and should have been a happy and special day, but now it will be a sad and permanent reminder of his horrific and senseless killing year after year.
“Reece and his son had an amazing bond and he is our constant reminder of Reece. It has broken our hearts to see the torment he has had to go through, losing his dad at the age of four.
“Reece was a hero that night and lost his life saving someone else’s. We still cannot believe he has gone and think about him every single day.”
Detective Inspector Laura Harrison, from the Homicide Team, said: “What is so upsetting about what happened to Reece is that anyone could have been him that night. He was simply on a night out with friends and tried to intervene in a fight that cost him his life.
“Reece was an innocent member of the public who wasn’t out to cause trouble, he simply wanted to enjoy a night out. These six men were out looking for a fight that night and an accidental knock as someone walked past them is all it took to set them off.
“I can’t imagine what Reece’s family are going through in what has been a difficult year for all, let alone a family who had their son, father and partner taken away from them so cruelly.
“Although no sentence will ever bring Reece back, I hope they can gain some closure from this knowing that those that caused Reece’s death have been brought to justice."