THE family of 26-year-old Thomas Gower spoke this week of the tragedy of his death as former boxer Bradley Hinkler was convicted of his murder.
Thomas died of head injuries from a single punch near the Alibi bar at the corner of Trippet Lane and Holly Street in Sheffield city centre.
A jury at Sheffield Crown Court took four-and-a-half hours to reach a unanimous verdict and Hinkler will be sentenced later this month.
Afterwards, in a statement on behalf of the family, Thomas’s dad, Keith Gower, described the murder as a “tragedy”.
“No sentence no matter how long will ever bring Thomas back to us, it’s a loss that family and friends will have to live with for the rest of our lives,” he said.
“We can only hope that a lesson can be learned and that is that young men start to realise that the answer to their differences and disputes is not achieved by violence – it only results in tragedy.”
Mr Gower also thanked witnesses for ‘courageously’ giving evidence throughout the trial, as well as those who gave first aid to Thomas. “We’re comforted by the fact he was with loving people that cared about him.”
Thomas, who lived in Gleadless Valley, was unconscious before he hit the ground and died in hospital on Boxing Day last year, just over a week after the attack.
Initially, Hinkler, aged 20, of Kilvington Road, Woodthorpe, who used to train daily at the Steel City Gym in Heeley, denied committing the attacks, only admitting his involvement after discovering he had been caught on CCTV.
He later claimed he was acting in self-defence, telling jurors that Thomas was going to get a knife and that Thomas’s friend, Richard Howard, had a bottle in the aftermath of a brawl inside the bar.
He was found guilty of murdering Thomas and grievous bodily harm with intent against Richard. One witness described him as “a predator going out for another kill”.
Det Supt Andy Thompson, who led the murder investigation, said Hinkler “clearly intended to get involved in violence” and had shown no remorse.
“As an experienced and talented amateur boxer, he should have known better,” he said. “At the drop of a hat, Hinkler started to become involved in a disturbance inside the Alibi bar, directing well-aimed punches. He continued to conduct himself in this manner outside.
“Thomas Gower was a hard-working family man, the father to two young boys. Clearly, his family are still devastated by their loss.”