Four years for Tunbridge Wells man who killed brother after Christmas party
17th May 2019
A MAN from Tunbridge Wells who killed his brother by repeatedly punching him has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Carl Eldred of Langton Green was travelling in a taxi at around 10.40pm on December 28 after a family night out.
They were returning home with their father Trevor and three friends, having been out drinking in two pubs in West Malling.
During an argument on the journey home he struck his brother Lee several times as the minicab went past the Hadlow Manor Hotel on the A26.
The driver stopped the taxi and one of the other passengers gave first aid to Lee, who was unresponsive.
The South East Coast Ambulance Service arrived and continued treatment until the 36-year-old, a bricklayer from Tonbridge, was pronounced dead.
Police arrested Carl at the scene and charged him with murder the following day.
'This is a truly tragic case. No one is suggesting that you killed him deliberately'
Appearing at Maidstone Crown Court on April 5, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter after the charge was changed.
The 34-year-old, who runs a panel-beating business in Plaxtol, was sentenced at the same court on Friday [May 17].
He punched his brother three times in the back of the neck, and the court heard that one of the blows may have severed an artery in Lee’s neck, leading to bleeding on the brain.
But Lee was described by family and friends as kind, caring and sensible.
Judge Adele Williams said: “This is a truly tragic case. No one is suggesting that you killed him deliberately.”
Carl struck his father in the face after getting angry ‘out of nowhere’, then said: 'Oh my god what have I done? I’m sorry. I’m sorry'
She added: “Both of you had had a considerable quantity to drink and in the minibus you were laughing and joking.”
The father tried to stop the argument but Carl struck him in the face after getting angry ‘out of nowhere’, the court heard. Carl said: “Oh my god what have I done? I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Judge Williams said the quantity of alcohol he had consumed had ‘swept away his inhibitions’.
“It then unleashed this violence, which was out of character. You punched your brother, not once but several times while he was not in position to defend himself while he was drunk.
“Your actions have had devastating consequences, although I accept that you expressed immediate and sincere remorse.”
Detective Inspector Matt Banks of the Kent & Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “This was a tragic event for a family following a social night out. Carl Eldred failed to consider the risks when he punched his brother and is now paying for the consequences with a jail sentence.
“This should serve as a reminder to anybody involved in an argument that the use of any physical force should always be avoided.
“It could result in significant harm for a victim and a considerable prison sentence for those responsible.”
Torment of a mother
A letter written by the mother of Carl and Lee, Carina Eldred, was read out in court. She also has two younger sons.
“Carl and Lee shared the strongest bond between the boys. They did everything together. They really were close.
"It was a purely natural and loving relationship. Unfortunately they had an argument which will change our lives forever.
"I don't want to write this letter. I don't want to be a mother who has lost a son.
"I know justice has to be done but there are no winners in my family.
"I know Lee will not want Carl to be punished. Carl will be punishing himself enough. We need Carl as much as he needs us.”