A man who assaulted another man near The Arch nightclub in Neath on 15th July 2022 has been sentenced to life in prison, with 18 years minimum term, for murder.
Daniel Pickering, aged 34, appeared at Swansea Crown Court today, Monday 13th February, where he was sentenced for the murder of Matthew Thomas, aged 47 from Neath.
Senior Investigating Officer DCI Mark Lewis said: “Daniel Pickering’s violent attack on Matthew was senseless and unprovoked and is another example of how the over consumption of alcohol and Class A drugs stimulates aggressive behaviour – resulting in tragic consequences for innocent victims and their families.
“We have seen a number of these types of murders in South Wales and across the UK. Murders of this nature are preventable if people take the time to reflect on their own behaviour.
“I want to appeal for people to consider their behaviour in drink and drugs. Do you become violent? Do you have friends who become violent or who look for fights on a night out? Please take the steps to adjust your behaviour and avoid confrontation.
“Our thoughts today remain with Matthew’s family and friends and I sincerely hope today’s sentence bring them some closure.”
Matthew’s family have paid tribute to him: “It’s been seven months since Matthew was murdered in an unprovoked, violent attack and yet it feels as though it was yesterday.
“We are all struggling to come to terms with the way he died and make sense of how it could be that a man he didn’t know made the decision that night to take from him his life and his future and by doing so has left such devastation and trauma behind.
“We sat through court and listened to multiple witnesses detail the horror of the attack, we are all still struggling to process the level of violence used and are so distressed to know that whilst Matthew lay on the floor dying, Daniel Pickering continuing to punch and stamp on his head.
“Matthew was a happy, positive, kind person, he loved life and people. He was a character and the life and soul of the party. He was only 47, a father, son, brother and friend to so many. He is missed so much, in just the short time since his death he has missed so many moments, we always feel as though someone is missing and we always will.
“As a family we welcomed the guilty verdict and the sentence today. It gives us comfort knowing that the murderer Daniel Pickering will not be a danger to the public for at least 18 years.
“It’s not until a life changing event such as Matthew’s murder that you truly understand the incredible work that people do. We are so grateful for the bystanders, emergency services and NHS staff that worked hard to save Matthew’s life. We appreciate beyond words all those that have brought Matthew’s murderer to court and with it achieving the guilty verdict. The ongoing support we have received from the police has helped us through this, knowing that there is always someone to talk to has been invaluable. We thank all those that have been with us throughout this awful time.
“We are hopeful that following today we will be able to move forward and start grieving and remembering Matthew.”