Southampton law student imprisoned for manslaughter APPEALS conviction and sentence

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By Katie King on

He was given six years for killing a father-of-ten on Valentine’s Day

An aspiring lawyer who was found guilty of manslaughter during the final year of his University of Southampton law degree has made an application to appeal his conviction and six-year custodial sentence.

Ryan Cooper was 21 when he was sentenced in April over the death of 49-year-old Gary Stacey. The father-of-ten was found on the street by a bus driver in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2016. He later died of head injuries in Southampton General Hospital.

Gary Stacey

The Russell Group LLB-er — who will almost certainly have studied criminal law in his first year at university — pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. Though he did not deny throwing the fatal punch, he claimed 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.

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 of the offence — 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 found him guilty. 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.

Having spoken to the Court of Appeal Criminal Division this morning, Legal Cheek can confirm Cooper has made an application for permission to appeal against both conviction and sentence. The outcome of this application is pending and still in its early stages, but will be reviewed by a judge in due course.

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