Widow pays tribute to ‘amazing’ husband killed by single-punch on birthday night out in pub

“Having Adam literally ripped out of our lives and my future stolen is too much for anyone to bear,” his wife said

A widow has paid tribute to her husband who she described as being a “true family man” after his killer was found guilty of manslaughter.

Father-of-two Adam Lovatt, 45, was killed with a single punch on a birthday night out at the Shroppie Fly pub in Audlem, Cheshire in 2018.

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His killer, Samuel Thorpe, 26, caused a fatal brain bleed and two skull fractures when he attacked the businessman following a row in the pub.

Thorpe was found guilty of manslaughter at Liverpool Crown Court after a 10-day trial and will be sentenced next month.

What happened?

Mr Lovatt had been out celebrating his birthday when the incident happened in the early hours of 25 May 2018.

The deli owner had recently moved to the Audlem area and had headed to the Shroppie Fly to continue his birthday celebrations after his wife Clare had returned home.

Police said the incident had begun when a customer at the pub objected to Mr Lovatt’s presence and tried to assault him.

Mr Lovatt left almost immediately, pursued by Thorpe and a second man, 37-year-old Nicolas Hill.

The pair caught up with him outside another pub, The Bridge Inn, where Thorpe delivered the fatal punch.

Police said the incident began at the Shroppie Fly pub in Audlem, Cheshire in the early hours of 25 May 2018 (image: Google Streetview)

Mr Lovatt fell backwards, suffering two skull fractures as his head struck the ground, and he died later that day.

Thorpe and Hill drove away from the scene through quiet country lanes to Market Drayton, Shropshire to avoid police.

The following day Thorpe threw his phone away and left the area to stay in a guest house in North Wales overnight, Cheshire Constabulary said.

A trial originally took place in January 2020, but a verdict could not be reached and the retrial was set with a new jury,

Hill was found not guilty of manslaughter but had already pleaded guilty to assisting an offender at an earlier hearing.

He will be sentenced alongside Thorpe on 26 November.

What did Mr Lovatt’s widow say?

Mr Lovatt’s widow Clare said: "The immense loss I have experienced from losing Adam, my amazing husband, cannot be underestimated.

"His senseless and tragic death has caused me so much trauma over the last three and a half years."

Speaking after Thorpe was convicted, Clare added: "As a nurse I have only ever wanted to help people, as a mother I only ever wanted a good life for our boys and for them to grow in a nurturing, respectful environment.

"Adam’s love and support gave us all of this. Having Adam literally ripped out of our lives and my future stolen is too much for anyone to bear.

"I am no longer the person I was whilst he was alive. Adam loved and married me because of my values in caring for others because we were both good people."

Clare described Mr Lovatt as a “true family man” and said that being a good husband and father were extremely important values to him.

"He did lovely things for me like running a hot bath, putting out candles and having a meal cooked for me when I got in late from a nursing shift,” she said.

"He made life better in every way. Adam was my soul mate, the love of my life, and the one for me.

"My heart has been broken since the day I lay next to him on his bedside for the last time whilst on life support.

"I will forever be grateful for my darling husband, I love him always and forever."

Mr Lovatt’s mum Maria said her son was “funny, loving and hard working”.

"Never did we envisage that when we wished him a happy birthday and joked with him that he was ‘pushing fifty’ that he would become a statistic belonging to that group of people that are killed by a single punch.

"Adam’s Dad and I, along with the rest of his family thank the Police and CPS lawyers for their tenacity.

"We are forever broken-hearted, but sadly Adam will probably not be the last to be killed in this way.”

Detective Inspector Adam Waller, of Cheshire Police, said: "Adam was callously left lying fatally injured in the road until a passing motorist summoned professional medical help.

"Neither Thorpe nor Hill made any attempts to look after anyone else but themselves in making their escape and attempting to cover their tracks."

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