England soccer supporter jailed for lethal punch that killed rival fan
Published 21/12/2011 | 15:38
AN England football fan who killed a Wales fan outside Wembley Stadium in a "heartbreaking" attack was jailed for three years at the Old Bailey today.
Michael Dye, 44, died from head injuries inflicted by what one witness described as a single "sickening punch" before a crucial Euro 2012 qualifier between England and Wales on September 6.
Ian Mytton, 41, of Gately Close, Redditch, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the father-of-three last month and wept in court as he was sentenced today.
In a statement read out in court, the victim's wife Nathalie Dye, who wiped tears from her eyes throughout the sentencing, said: "The man who caused Mike's death might as well have killed me that night. Part of me died alongside Mike.
"The only thing to look forward to is being with my darling husband once again."
CCTV footage showed Mytton approaching Dye on a concourse outside the stadium, in north-west London, before punching him once at about 7.20pm, 25 minutes before the match kicked off, and then walking away.
Mr Dye was taken to Northwick Park Hospital after suffering a fractured skull but died soon after his arrival.
Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said one eyewitness described the punch as "sickening".
"It was something you would see in a boxing ring," said the witness.
"As a football fan I have seen many scuffles but the force of that punch was such that it was something I will never forget," said the witness.
Judge Stephen Kramer said: "As you said in your letter to me - 'the two people, Michael Dye and myself were just going to a football match, for one of us to lose his life and for one of us to end up in prison is heartbreaking' - and I would agree with that."
"It is a tragedy, most of all for the family and friends of Michael Dye," said the judge. "They have lost a husband, a brother, a father and a friend."
He described the attack as "unprovoked" and the force of the blow as "considerable".
The judge said Mr Dye was "poleaxed" from the force of the punch and fell backwards without trying to stop himself, hitting his head on the ground and suffering "massive brain damage".
He acknowledged that Mytton had drunk five pints of lager that day and was holding a can of Strongbow as he and five friends approached Mr Dye and his friend Anthony Riella, who had also been drinking.
But in mitigation he recognised the fact that Mytton handed himself in to police and was now suffering from depression.
Earlier, prosecutor Mr Bennetts described Mytton and his friends shouting abuse at Mr Riella and Mr Dye.
"There were shouts of 'you fucking sheep shaggers' and 'fuck off'," said Mr Riella in a witness statement.
He said he and Mr Dye then looked at the shouting group and laughed. Soon after, Mytton and a group of five others approached the pair.
Mr Riella said Mr Dye told the group to "leave it out", but Mytton then punched him, knocking him to the ground.
Mytton, an Aston Villa fan, wept as Mr Bennetts read out victim impact statements from Mrs Dye and Mr Dye's sister, Katherine Dye.
Mrs Dye said: "Since I lost my wonderful husband my world has been crushed. It has been a living hell.
"I am unable to eat for fear of having a moment of enjoyment without my husband."
Mr Bennetts said Mrs Dye had shed a lot of weight and now weighs seven stone.
"I suffer from anxiety attacks and I have had to move house," she said.
Mrs Dye said her husband "was the ideal hero and role model" to his children.
"Even the dog still sleeps in the last jumper Mike was wearing," she said.
Sister Ms Dye said: "I can never forget the day me and my parents were taken to the mortuary to identify his body.
"It is the last thing I see at night."
Mytton's defence lawyer, Simon Stirling, said in mitigation: "His remorse for what he did and the suffering he caused them (the Dye family) is real, genuine and heartfelt."
Mr Stirling said Mytton had no previous convictions, was never involved in football violence before and had originally planned to take his daughter to the match, before realising it was a school night.
There were sobs from the public gallery as Mytton's sentence was read out.
He was sentenced to three years in jail that will take into account the 100 days he has already spent in custody.
After he has served half his sentence, Mytton will be released on licence.