I have dealt with too many incidents like this.
You can cause serious harm with one punch – enough to kill someone.
Young men, alcohol, and ego don’t mix well.
These men should both have gone home with a hangover at worse, there was no reason it should have ended as it did.
This is not the set of a movie or the scene from a Play Station game – this is real life.
Both Tomas and Cortney’s families will have to deal with this tragic outcome for the rest of their lives.
Jobs like this aren’t the most complex – as long as you concentrate on collecting your evidence and asking the right questions to get the right information.
The devil is in the detail. Do the basics of policing well. Talk to people, ask questions. By doing this you start to understand what happened. Keep an open mind and assume nothing. The initial response is vital to make sure evidence and witnesses are not lost. CCTV gathering and viewing is also important. Hours of footage were examined to piece together the movements of individuals involved.
There are times when you get a great deal of satisfaction from a guilty verdict. This was not one of them.
I’m pleased that my team did their job and sought the truth of what happened that night. I am pleased that Tomas’ family now know what happened and that Tomas’ voice was heard.
But although I believe this verdict was the correct one, I know it will have a ripple effect across the families and friends of both.
I’ve been a senior investigating officer for over three years with the major crime unit, and it’s a very fulfilling job. But the hardest part of it is dealing with families that are affected. Mostly they have little or no part to play in the circumstances but are the ones left to deal with the most horrendous outcomes.
That never gets any easier.
Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie is a senior investigation officer for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit. He investigated the death of Tomas Juska, who died in August 2015 after being punched by Cortney Batchelor after a night out in Dunstable. Batchelor was found guilty of manslaughter and awaits sentencing.