Sunday, August 14, 2022

English MMA Fighter Jailed For Manslaughter After Bar Fight

English MMA fighter Daniel Ballard has been jailed after an altercation on Halloween last year that left one man dead.

The 31-year-old received a jail sentence of 8 years after pleading guilty to the charge of manslaughter at Basildon Crown Court.

On the night of October 31, 2021, Ballard encountered 42-year-old Philip Mersh at a pub in Essex. Mersh was with his twin sons and fiancée, as well as their friend David Hume and Hume’s daughter.

While exiting the pub, Hume allegedly gestured at the MMA fighter’s girlfriend in a manner that sparked the altercation. CCTV footage as well as videos taken via cell phones caught the ensuing fight and were shown in court.

According to The Sun, the footage shows Ballard punch Mersh’s fiancée before landing two punches on the 42-year-old. Mersh had his hands up when he was hit, and the second punch knocked him to the ground.

Philip Mersh was out trick-or-treating with his family when their group encountered Ballard. (The Sun)

Mersh was taken to Royal London Hospital after the event, but was later pronounced brain dead. Ballard had initially been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assault, but the charges were changed to manslaughter following Mersh’s passing.

Experience As An MMA Fighter Used In Court

Although there are some discrepancies in the details of his official record, Ballard competed in several pro and amateur MMA bouts between 2016 and 2020.

His fighting experience was apparently a point of emphasis for the prosecution, who mentioned the size difference between the two men and Ballard’s use of a “full force punch”. The prosecution also noted the victim’s body language during the event before he was hit by the MMA fighter.

“The defendant’s use of force was disproportionate, offensive, and unlawful. Mr. Mersh stood with his hands up to pacify the defendant, asking him to stop and calm down. It’s clear at that stage Mr. Mersh was offering no threat and there was nothing to prevent the defendant from walking away.”

Ballard suffered a broken nose and fractured eye socket during the fight. According to the report, he made no effort to leave the scene and claimed to have acted in self-defense. The 31-year-old has apparently shown “significant and genuine remorse” for what occurred and formally pled guilty to the charges back in May.

The MMA fighter was convicted on 12 previous occasions for a number of violent offenses between 2009 and 2021, including one that resulted in a 12-month suspended prison sentence for domestic violence. As his most recent offense was a breach of that suspended sentence, it will be served concurrently with the jail time he has just received.

You can read a similar story about an MMA fighter here.

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