Family in shock at murder

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Ian Mark Smith, 22, of Boycott Way, South Elmsall, suffered serious head injuries in an attack, which took place on Barnsley Road shortly before 2am on Saturday 19th February 2011.

He was taken to Pontefract General Infirmary but he died later that morning.

Five men have been charged with killing Mr Smith.

His devastated parents are trying to come to terms with the tragic death.

Mr Smith’s mother Vicki Lownes, 41, said: “Words cannot describe how I am feeling, I still can’t believe it, I keep thinking he is coming back to us.

“I can’t even close my eyes because I have visions of what he went through. It is heartbreaking and I feel as though part of me has been killed.”

His father, Ian Smith, 53, said he was a perfect older brother to Stephen, 18, Jamie, 15, and Liam, who is three today.

He said: “He was so protective and would do anything for them. He loved being their big brother and they looked up to him, and now they are going to miss out on that. ”

“There is a big hole in this family now that can never be filled. No-one could have wished for a better son or brother.”

After leaving Minsthorpe Community College, Mr Smith joined the Army as a Royal Engineer, based in Kent, serving four years.

When he returned home he worked at the Netto Distribution Centre, South Elmsall.

On the night of his murder Mr Smith had been celebrating his aunt’s 60th birthday at a family party in South Kirkby.

After the party Mr Smith decided to continue the night out in South Elmsall with his cousin Lauren Fenn, brother Stephen and his girlfriend.

His father said: “I don’t think whoever did this knows what they have taken from us. All we have left are photographs on the wall.

“It isn’t just one person they have hurt, it’s the whole family. They might as well have taken us all because it has ripped our family to pieces.”

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the scene of the attack and on social networking sites.

His brother Jamie wrote: “Rest in peace Ian, I am proud to call you my brother.

“You was there when I woke up on a morning and there when I went to sleep. You will always be in my heart big bro, I love you and you will never be forgotten. Love you.”

He also enjoyed playing football and was part of South Elmsall United from being six, and was recently planning to join the South Kirkby Colliery team.

Four men charged with murder appeared before Pontefract Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday February 22nd.

John Dean Richardson, 43, of Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam, Bradley Jake Parkin, 21, and Neil Brown, 28, both of Mallard Mews, South Elmsall, were remanded in custody and are due to appear before Leeds Crown Court today.

Solicitors for Liam Ackroyd, 21, of Bell Lane, Ackworth, appeared before Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday February 23rdand made no application for bail.

A fifth man, John Simon Richardson, 22, of South Elmsall, was due to appear at Pontefract Magistrates Court yesterday February 23rd, also charged with murder.

Speaking at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday, Michael Smith, prosecuting, said: “This is a joint enterprise case where the crown alleges a man was chased down by a group of defendants who kicked him, stamped upon him and struck him with a baseball bat.”

He said it was alleged each of the defendants played “different parts leading to fatal head injuries being suffered by the deceased.”

Enquiries are ongoing and police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information should contact Wakefield District CID via 0845 6060606.