Five killers found guilty of murdering young dad Reece Cox outside Sedgley pub

Six men have been found guilty of killing a young father who died after playing peacemaker when his friend was attacked outside a Black Country pub.

From top left: Shane Jones, Wayne Burke, Shaquel Halliday, Adam Ashwin, Sebastian Jones, Ryan Nicklin
From top left: Shane Jones, Wayne Burke, Shaquel Halliday, Adam Ashwin, Sebastian Jones, Ryan Nicklin

Five of the killers were convicted of murder and the sixth was convicted of the manslaughter of Reece Cox.

Adam Ashwin, Wayne Burke, Shaquel Halliday, Shane Jones, and Sebastian Jones found guilty of murder by a jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court after five-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

Ryan Nicklin was found guilty of manslaughter in relation to the 24-year-old's death.

Reece Cox with his son. Photo: West Midlands Police

Reece Cox, 24, had been on a night out with friends in Sedgley during the evening of August 15 and ended up in the Clifton Public House.

Towards the end of the night, they all decided to go off and get food separately before going home.

Two people that Reece had met that night set off towards a taxi rank when one of them accidentally bumped into a teen called Joe Williams.

Reece Cox

After this, the group attacked one of the men, with Ashwin dragging him into the road and back towards The Clifton.

Mr Cox had stepped in to try and play peacemaker but the group then turned on Mr Cox, surrounding him before throwing punches and kicks at their victim who tried in vain to defend himself.

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CCTV footage of the disorder was played to the jury on the opening day of the trial and showed one of the group, Adam Ashwin, deliver a final kick to Mr Cox's head as he was attempting to get up from the floor, knocking him unconscious. He never woke up. All six had denied murder.

The six men, then aged between 18 and 25, were "looking for a fight" when they left the White Horse, according to prosecutor Mr David Mason QC.

And it was a "minor, innocuous collision" between one of the group and a woman Reece Cox had earlier been drinking with that sparked the violence.

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The group launched into an assault on the woman's boyfriend, Grant Danbury, aiming punches towards him as he desperately tried to get away from the baying mob.

Mr Danbury managed to run to safety inside the pub but as other scuffles broke out, Mr Cox intervened in an attempt to play peacemaker.

According to prosecutor Mr David Mason QC, the 24-year-old was not someone to stand by and do nothing if he saw something he didn't think was right.

Reece and his son

But as he stepped in to try and cool the situation, the group turned on him, launching into the attack that would cost him his life.

Det Insp Laura Harrison said the attack was captured on three different sources of video.

One was taken from a mobile phone inside the pub, which quickly circulated on social media, generating widespread anger.

Ashwin, 20, of Monument Lane, Sedgley, Burke, 23, of Queens Street, Pensnett; Halliday, 22, of Shadwell Drive, Lower Gornal; Jones, 26, of Orchard Grove, Lower Gornal; Nicklin, 22, of Limes Avenue, Pensnett; and Jones, 19, of Corser Street, Dudley, were also convicted of assault actioning actual bodily harm and violent disorder.

Reece Cox was aged 24 when he died

At the start of the trial, two other men Tyrone Halliday, aged 24, of Shadwell Drive, Lower Gornal, and Joe Williams, 18 of Frome Close, Lower Gornal, pleaded guilty to affray and causing actual bodily harm retrospectively.

Reece’s family has released this tribute: “Reece was a gentle giant. Never aggressive but would step up and front anything that wasn’t right. He would always go out of his way to help others.

“Reece’s partner and son have had their whole future as a family taken away from them. On the day he died, it was the couple’s six year anniversary of when they first met and what would and should have been a happy and special day, but now it will be a sad and permanent reminder of his horrific and senseless killing year after year.

“Reece and his son had an amazing bond and he is our constant reminder of Reece. It has broken our hearts to see the torment he has had to go through, losing his dad at the age of four.

“Reece was a hero that night and lost his life saving someone else’s. We still cannot believe he has gone and think about him every single day.”

They will be sentenced on May 12.

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