Southampton law student found guilty of Valentine’s Day manslaughter

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He’s been sentenced to six years for killing father-of-ten Gary Stacey

Winchester Crown Court

A final year studying law at the University of Southampton has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Ryan Cooper, 21, was today sentenced to six years in prison over the death of 49-year-old Gary Stacey. The father-of-ten was found on an Isle of Wight street in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2016. He later died of head injuries in Southampton General Hospital.

Cooper pleaded not guilty to the offence in September, not because he denied throwing the punch but because he claims his actions were in self defence. He said in a police interview:

[Stacey] looked like he was going to hit me, so I just jabbed him to get him away.

In court, defence lawyers maintained that Stacey had “verbally threatened” Cooper and come at him “with a raised fist”. The Isle of Wight County Press reports Cooper broke down in the witness box and “was at times barely able to speak”.

Father-of-ten Gary Stacey

However, prosecuting barrister Andrew Houston claimed Cooper’s actions were unprovoked and dismissed his self defence claims as “made up”. Lawyers also noted Cooper — in his second year of his LLB at the time — bragged on Facebook that he’d drunk half a litre of vodka and done a line of cocaine on the night of Stacey’s death.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court today found him guilty of manslaughter. Sentencing, Mr Justice Warby said:

This is a very sad case. You will miss your finals. There will inevitably be an impact on your future career choices. I am sure you would take back those two seconds if only you could. But of course you can’t. The case is sadder for Gary Stacey and his family.

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Wow….. wow



Food for thought… Would a manslaughter conviction be a bar to the profession?



I thought this when reading it. I don’t think it would be a bar to the profession but I think there would be difficulty when applying for training contracts/ pupillages perhaps?


High Street Solicitor

Isn’t it pretty much impossible to get any job if you have a criminal record? Unless you want to work in Timpsons scraping chewing gum off of shoes.



Possibly not … but bragging on Facebook about doing lines of coke would not help



Not completing your degree within six years (part time) is a bar to bar – unless you want to start again.



I think it’s possible to do a degree in prison, so maybe it’ll be to bar from behind bars.



Yes and no. I’ve heard about a QC who is an ex murderer and to be honest it’s the adage of set a thief to catch a thief



Embarrassing little girls commenting ‘drama’ on this Facebook post. Yes such drama that someone has lost their life and another has been sentenced to six years in prison. People really need to be more considerate.


Noddy of Counsel

Ah, Winchester Crown Court.

Doesn’t look much from the outside, but it’s a masterpiece inside.

One of the last to be built when it was still thought that court rooms ought to be grand, imposing and impressive.



Good luck to Ryan getting a training contract. But then again, Leila Taleb managed to raise the funds to cover her entire BPTC, by saying, inter alia, “it must be cool…to know your shit”. Looks like anything is possible these days!



But this guy went to the russell group. He’ll be fine


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