'Walk away': Mother's plea to end violence after son's one-punch death

By Megan Archer | Willenhall | News | Published:

The heartbroken mother of a Walsall barman who was killed after a brutal single punch has urged people to "walk away" when faced with a fight.

Matthew Powney, inset, and the scene where he was killed

Helen Hope, the mother of Wetherspoons barman and father-of-one Matthew Powney, said she had been left devastated by what happened to her son this time last year.

She made a desperate plea on social media this morning, on the first anniversary of his death, urging people to think before they resort to violence.

Matthew Powney, aged 31, was innocently standing at a bus stop in New Road, Willenhall – after finishing a shift at the Malthouse pub just after midnight – when he was punched in the face by Shaun Addison.

Shaun Addison was jailed for five years after admitting manslaughter

Moments earlier 27-year-old Addison had attacked two other people after getting involved in an argument between three men on a stationary bus that had nothing to do with him.

The bus driver then told police that Addison stepped off the bus and delivered a "swinging punch" to the first person he saw – Matthew Powney.

The back of Mr Powney's head hit the ground hard causing catastrophic skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury from which he died later in hospital.

The case at Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that Mr Powney had "not been doing anything except stand aghast at the events unfolding in front of him". He was described as a "harmless, friendly completely innocent man".


Matthew Powney was aged 31 when he died

His mother Helen Hope hopes to spread the message about the shattering consequences of single punches.

She said: "A year ago my son Matthew was so cruelly taken outside Wetherspoons where he worked, please spare a thought if you pass the Malthouse.

"Throwing a single punch can have devastating consequences. Just one punch can cause life-changing injuries and even death.


"A moment of aggression, whether unprovoked or in self-defence, can result in a lifetime of consequences, regret and guilt.

"If you find yourself involved in a fight, our advice is to walk away. It could save your life.

"Our lives have been left heartbroken."

The devastated mother asked if people would share her Facebook post to raise awareness.

Addison, of Furzebank Way, Willenhall admitted the manslaughter of Mr Powney and assaulting another man on the bus, Kevin Shepperson, who himself was murdered last August.

The other man Addison struck was not traced.

Addison was jailed for five years.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email

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