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Second time guilty for same attack

PUBLISHED: 12:30 24 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:29 05 July 2010

Guilty: Daniel Gorman

Guilty: Daniel Gorman

A historic trial ended yesterday with a jury clearing a young man of murdering a former seaman in Lowestoft, but finding him guilty of manslaughter.

Daniel Gorman, 22, was the first person in Suffolk to face trial under a law change, which abolished a rule that someone could only be charged with murder if their victim died within a year and a day of an attack.

A historic trial ended yesterday with a jury clearing a young man of murdering a former seaman in Lowestoft, but finding him guilty of manslaughter.

Daniel Gorman, 22, was the first person in Suffolk to face trial under a law change, which abolished a rule that someone could only be charged with murder if their victim died within a year and a day of an attack.

The jury at Ipswich Crown Court returned yesterday morning to deliver a unanimous verdict that Gorman, formerly of Normanston Drive, Lowestoft, had not murdered 57-year-old Edward Nelson, but was guilty of manslaughter.

Gorman had been sent to a young offenders' institution for six years in 2004 after being found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Nelson in September 2003.

He was later charged with murder after Mr Nelson, of London Road South, Lowestoft, died in 2006 as a result of pneumonia directly linked to injuries he suffered in the attack.

The court had heard how Gorman, now of Harpenden, Hertfordshire, allegedly carried out the attack because of unfounded allegations Mr Nelson was a child molester.

Judge John Devaux adjourned sentencing to a future date after ordering reports on Gorman.

Speaking at the end of the five-day trial, Det Insp Steve Mattin, of Lowestoft police, said: “It was an unusual case because the year-and-a- day ruling had been rescinded and with the Crown Prosecution Service we took the decision to reinvestigate the case. The case was also referred to the attorney general and the appropriate authorities' views were sought.

“It is the first time in Suffolk that we have used this legislation. I would like to say that if you commit violent offences, we will prosecute you and use the legislation to carry out justice.”

During the course of the trial, the court heard how Mr Nelson was found with serious head injuries in his flat after he was attacked because of allegations he was a child abuser.

Gorman admitted to the jury that he had punched Mr Nelson in the face four times and kicked him twice in the ribs, but blamed another man, Mark 'Bomber' Harris, for causing the head injuries.

Gorman claimed he had been pulled away by a friend and saw Harris jumping up and down on Mr Nelson's head. The hearing was told that both attackers had been in a neighbouring flat where people were drinking.

Harris, 37, of Lyndhurst Road, Lowestoft, also went on trial in 2004 accused of grievous bodily harm with intent. He was found not guilty on the direction of a judge, but admitted assaulting Mr Nelson causing him actual bodily harm and was jailed for 30 months.

Mr Nelson, who used to work on fishing boats, was left in a persistent vegetative state and died in 2006 at a care home near Lowestoft.

The change in the year-and-a-day rule was made in 1996 and it was used for the first time in Norfolk earlier this year when a man was found guilty of murder after his victim died more than two years after he was attacked.

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