ACCUSED ADMITS: I KILLED CHEMIST; Jail warning after change of plea.
THE man accused of killing businessman Bill Ney was convicted yesterday after dramatically changing his plea to guilty at the end of his trial.
The case at Chester Crown Court was halted when Peter Jones' barrister announced his client had changed his mind and was admitting man-slaughter. Judge Elgan Edwards ruled an alternative charge of mur-der be dropped and instructed the jury to formally return a guilty verdict to manslaughter.
Jones, 31, of Heol y Wal, Bradley, Wrexham, was told he would be jailed.
Judge Edwards told him: ``I do not want you to be under any misapprehension. There is only one sentence that is appropriate in this matter and that is custody.''
Jones, who is married with a nine-year-old daughter, sat through five days of the eightday trial before deciding to change his plea.
The jury heard how he savagely beat 46-year-old Mr Ney outside Brannigans bar, in Chester city centre, after being refused entry.
Following the unprovoked attack, Mr Ney, a chemist who ran a successful business in New Mills, Derbyshire, never regained consciousness and died in hospital four days later.
A post-mortem examination concluded he had suffered a fractured skull and brain damage. On the day of his death, Mr Ney had spent the day at Chester Races with a group of friends be fore going to Brannigans to watch the England v Ger many match. Afterwards, he left the nightspot and went alone into a nearby alleyway to urinate.
It was here that he was approached by a drunken Jones who, without a word, punched Mr Ney in the face, causing him to collapse unconscious and hit his head on the ground.
Jones then hit him re peatedly in the face before being led away, laughing, by his brotherinlaw, Paul Davies. The court heard the pair had been drinking dou ble spirits all day.
Prosecuting, Patrick Har rington told the jury that Jones took out his rage on Mr Ney after being turned away from Brannigans.He described the incident as ``a nasty, unprovoked and ulti mately fatal act of violence on a wholly innocent, de fenceless man''.
Mr Ney was married to Annette and the couple were planning early retire ment to Portugal in the near future. His family were in court yesterday to hear the verdict, and one family member shouted ``No'' when the judge agreed to grant Jones bail until his sentencing hearing.
Sentencing was adjourn ed until August 7.
VICTIM:; Bill Ney