A woman who encouraged her partner to hit ME sufferer Kevin Tripp in the Colliers Wood Sainsbury’s supermarket in South London was found guilty of manslaughter, when the jury – which had been considering its verdict for over seven hours – filed back to their seats at Southwark Crown Court this morning.
Antonette Richardson, 37, instructed her partner Tony Virasami to attack a man following a row in a queue, but Kevin Tripp was attacked in a case of mistaken identity. He later died.
Detective Inspector Bob Campany, from the Metropolitan Police’s homicide and serious crime command, said: "The death of Kevin Tripp has devastated his family.
"I am glad that we have secured two convictions that reflect the level of responsibility Virasami and Richardson had in his death.
"Virasami’s reckless actions represent a spectacular over-reaction.
"They can in no way be justified even if Kevin had been the man who offended Richardson.
"The fact that he wasn’t makes it even more reprehensible.
"I am particularly pleased that the jury have recognised the role played by Richardson.
"It was her fatal decision to call Virasami that ultimately set off the chain of events that end with Kevin’s death.
"It was her clear intention that he gain revenge for her and she made no effort to calm him down as they made their way through the shopping centre, even though it as clear Virasami was likely to assault someone.
"I hope this sends a clear message to violent people who cannot control their emotions and those that incite them.
"We will seek to convict everyone concerned, no matter who committed the assault."
Richardson and Virasami – who admitted manslaughter earlier – will be sentenced on a date to be decided.
The jury took more than seven hours to deliver the 11-1 majority verdict.
Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC said: "This is a serious case. Bail will be refused."