A man has been jailed for a one punch assault which led to the death of a much-loved dad.
Gediminas Vaitkus, aged 43, of Tunnard Street, Boston, was attacked by Hikmet Maez, aged 19, in Red Lion Street in the town at around 6.15pm on July 28th.
Mr Vaitkus visited International Food and Drink at around 5.50pm on July 28 where he attempted to buy a bottle of alcohol. Maez, who was serving behind the counter, refused to sell the alcohol to Mr Vaitkus.
Mr Vaitkus then left the shop and went to a nearby shop, International Food and Drink.
Mr Vaitkus made a purchase in the premises and as walked out he was prodded by Maez, who had followed him into the shop. Maez then pushed Mr Vaitkus in the back.
Maez then picked up a glass bottle and threw it at his victim. Mr Vaitkus managed to block this and continued walking along the street. Maez continued to follow him a short distance before kicking him in the leg and punching him in the face. The punch to the face caused Mr Vaitkus to fall to the ground and bang his head causing a fatal head injury.
Mr Vaitkus was taken to QMC where he never recovered from his injuries and sadly died on August 3rd.
Maez fled the scene in his car but was tracked down and arrested by officers around two hours later.
Maez, of Spilsby Road, Boston, pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter when he appeared at Lincoln Crown Court on September 24. He was sentenced to three years in prison when he appeared at Lincoln Crown Court today, Monday 21st December.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Myszczyszyn, of East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “We welcome the sentence given to Hikmet Maez.
“Maez’s mindless act of violence on the night of July 28th resulted in the tragic death of Gediminas Vaitkus.
“I hope today’s sentence raises awareness of the serious consequences of any act of violence.
“Mr Vaitkus’ tragic death will forever have a devastating effect on his family’s lives.
“Maez’s appalling actions should make people think twice about their actions. We hope today’s result provides some form of comfort to Mr Vaitkus’ family, knowing that the person responsible for this tragedy is behind bars.”
Paying tribute to Gediminas, his 19-year-old daughter, who wishes not to be named, said: “Not a day goes by that we do not think about our dear dad. We are truly and deeply devastated.
“My seven-year-old brother is finding it so difficult to deal with dad’s passing and is constantly asking mum when he will get to see his dad. It breaks our heart having to tell him that dad will never be returning.
“Our dear dad was a devoted family man and loved us all, including his mum and siblings who are also finding it extremely hard to cope with, especially him being the youngest of 4. It has been the worst thing we have ever had to go through and we truly hope that no one ever has to suffer the pain that we have been through due to a careless act that happened whilst he was simply walking home.
“Our dad loved life and his freedom, who worked hard to make sure me and my brother were both happy at all times.
“We, as a family, are still struggling to come to terms with not being able to see our loved one again, it’s hard to believe that that is the reality we are going to have to live with. We have been torn into pieces and we miss our dad more and more everyday.”
The family has asked for media to respect their privacy at this very difficult time.
Lincolnshire Police is working with OnePunchUK to raise awareness of the devastating effects one punch assaults can have.
OnePunchUK was founded by Maxine Thompson-Curl whose son Kristian was tragically killed following a one punch attack while on a night in Consett, County Durham.
Kristian, aged 19, was in a coma for more than a week and survived for 10 months but died in 2011.
Following his death, Maxine has been raising awareness about the dangers of one punch attacks through her campaign Punched Out Cold Campaign working alongside the police.
Maxine said: “What worries me is that people are going to get drunk and lose control. This does not have to be in a pub or club setting, but can be at home or in the street.
“It is all about knowing your limits and to walk away.”
Maxine set up One Punch North East as a campaigning group in 2014 which has now become a registered charity and has spoken to thousands of schoolchildren across the region about what happened to Kristian.
She also works with survivors of attacks and victim’s families as well as working in prevention.
Maxine, of South Shields, said: “I work with survivors and victim’s families and it’s amazing how strong these people are.
“It’s really inspiring meeting all these people. I didn’t really know what was going to happen with Kristian. I always think about how his life would have been if he had survived.
“If I can help one other person from going through what we’ve gone through then that’s all that matters.
“It’s about raising awareness and preventing this from happening.”
For more information visit onepunch.org.uk/PunchedOutCold or search for @OnePunchNE on Facebook and Twitter
Victim Gediminas Vaitkus