Teenager in Billy murder case banned from being drunk in public

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A teenager who sparked violence last November that led to the death of Billy Dove has been banned by a judge from getting drunk in a public place.

Violent Ben Sears, 18, was a nasty drunk, spoiling for trouble the night he began throwing punches in Hemel Hempstead’s town centre.

For trainee mechanic Billy, who was out with a group of friends, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he encountered Sears and his pals.

Today (Friday) Sears, of Belsize Road, Hemel Hempstead, appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court after admitting a charge of affray.

His sentencing had been adjourned so that he could be assessed to see if he was suitable for anger management treatment.

Sear’s appearance in court today was the final chapter in the sentencing that has taken place this summer of a number of young men who were behind the violence that broke out in the town centre and led to the death of 21 year old Billy

In June, Darren McGrath, 17, of Essex Mead, Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty to the murder of Billy.

He was ordered to be “detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure” and told he must remain in custody for a minimum period of 14 years.

Carl Williams, 21, and Charlie Samson, 18, pleaded guilty to affray.

Williams of Barnacres Road, Hemel Hempstead, who the judge said had been on the periphery of the affray, was given a 12-month community order with supervision and told he must attend an education and training programme.

Samson, of St Agnells Lane in the town, was sentenced to 112 days imprisonment, which meant that because of the time he had already served in custody, he was released.

Billy who lived with his family in Hemel Hempstead had gone out on the evening of November 5 with his friends to a firework party.

At the end of the night he and the group were in the town centre visiting pubs.

Ian Wade QC prosecuting said also out that night was Sears and the other defendants.

Sears was spoiling for trouble because, said Mr Wade, he believed his mum was having an affair with a member of staff at The Function Rooms nightclub.

Sears had drunk heavily that evening and had taken cocaine. He had knuckle dusters on him and after meeting up with the other defendants in a pub he said he wanted to go to the nightclub and confront the man.

The court heard having arrived at the club’s entrance, staff noticed how agitated he was and refused him entry. His mum was inside the club.

Mr Wade said Sears went round the side of the building and managed to speak to her through the bars of a gate.

“His mother tried to calm him down but it’s clear he did not calm down,” said the prosecutor.

Billy and some friends were walking by and causing no trouble but Sears took it upon himself to start a fight with the other group at the point where Waterhouse Street connects with Market Square.

The court was told there was a brief lull in the violence before Sears again attacked someone in the other group and more fighting broke out.

Moments later at a spot near a Gregg’s bakery Billy was fatally stabbed by McGrath.

Judge Gullick sentenced Sears to a two-year supervision order and told him he must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work

In addition he was made the subject of a prohibition order banning him from being found intoxicated in any public place for the next two years.

The judge told Sears “You are 19 years old and pleaded guilty to a charge of affray which was a drunken fight between groups of young men in the early hours of November 6 last year in the middle of Hemel Hempstead. It was the sort of fight that young men seemed to get involved in in city centres and town centres up and down the country. I am in no doubt that were fuelled up that night.”