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Man Jailed For Killing Man He Mistakenly Thought Stole His Coat

Friday 30th November 2012

A homeless man has been jailed for almost three years for killing someone he mistakenly thought had stolen his coat.

45-year-old Shaun Barnes was found guilty of the manslaughter of Brian Kyle at the Old Bailey.

Mr Kyle died from a single blow to the head after a fight in the canteen of a hostel in Camden in north London on 21st May 2012.

Barnes had returned to the hostel after a day of heavy drinking to find his coat missing from his bedroom. Confusing Mr Kyle for the person he thought had stolen his coat, which contained all of his key belongings, Barnes threw two chairs in his direction before punching him in the head.

Having also been drinking, it is believed the blow to Mr Kyle's head was exacerbated by his alcohol intake, leading to bleeding in his brain.

Judge Gerald Gordon said he believed he was "dealing with two entirely different people" - a reference to Barnes's behaviour while sober and drunk.

He added: "As far as Mr Kyle was concerned, it was a gratuitous and unprovoked attack because of a mistaken belief."

He told Barnes he believed "particularly when drinking, you are a dangerous offender".

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