16 years for man who murdered Gibraltar soldier
An amateur boxer who boasted he was the ‘hardest man in town’ showed no remorse yesterday as he was jailed for 16 years for a “sustained and savage” assault that ended the life of a 20-year old soldier from the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.
Private Matthew Boyd, 20, died in the barracks town of Brecon, South Wales, in the early hours of May 8, 2016.
He was chased, punched to the ground and beaten before his body was dragged and dumped in the road.
Jake Vallely, 24, was found guilty of murder following a three week trial at Cardiff Crown Court last week.
At a sentencing hearing yesterday Judge Mr Justice Clive Lewis jailed Vallely for life and said he must serve a minimum of 16 years.
In doing so he told Vallely: “I am in no doubt that you were ready for trouble and indeed you were looking for trouble that night.”
A second man, 23-year old Aaron Evans was cleared of manslaughter.
Mr Justice Lewis said: “Matthew Boyd was a young soldier in a new town, simply having an evening away from camp with his colleagues.”
“You were also out in Brecon that night. You however, were aggressive, confrontational and threatening throughout the whole evening.”
“You were aggressive and confrontational to Matthew Boyd as you had been to others that night.”
The judge added: “Matthew Boyd attempted to get away and walk off, then you followed him and then ran after him and chased him down the street.”
“When you did catch up with him, a struggle ensued and the last 47 seconds of that struggle were caught on CCTV.”
During those 47 seconds Vallely hit Pte Boyd to the ground before punching him repeatedly.
“It was a sustained and savage attack,” Mr Justice Lewis said.
The judge further remarked that Vallely had shown no remorse for his actions.
He said: “Your sole concern has been to minimise your actions and escape the consequences.”
During the trial, prosecutor Christopher Quinlan QC, told the jury of nine men and three women: "Jake Vallely is the self-proclaimed hardest man in Brecon.
"That was how he described himself an hour or so before the attack that killed Mr Boyd.
"Mr Boyd was punched. He went to the ground and thereafter he was beaten until he moved no more.
"Mr Vallely then dragged and dumped his body and ran off. He ran back to the bar where he continued his night."
The court heard that, following tours in Northern Ireland, Pte Boyd was sent to Brecon and arrived in the town on May 3 this year.
On the evening of May 7, he went out with fellow soldiers but became separated from them at about 11pm.
He arrived at the Cellar Bar, where Vallely and Evans were, at about 12.19am on May 8.
CCTV cameras later captured Vallely's "sustained assault" on Pte Boyd in the street outside the bar, Mr Quinlan said.
"Vallely got the better of Mr Boyd," he told the jury. "He drove him to the ground.”
"Once he was on the ground Mr Boyd was no longer - if he had ever been - a threat to this man.”
"Once down he was punched repeatedly. You could see Mr Vallely's right arm moving like a piston up and down as he punched him.”
"There was also movement of his right leg. He completely overpowered that man. He dragged his still motionless body across the road.”
"It was sustained, repeated and unlawful violence delivered with intent to cause really serious harm."
A member of the public discovered Pte Boyd's body. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2.40am.
A post-mortem examination found Pte Boyd died as a result of blunt force injuries.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PRESS ASSOCIATION