Man guilty of killing girlfriend’s father over child’s care decision
A man has been found guilty of killing his girlfriend’s father, who died three years after being attacked over a decision to take her son into care.
Daniel Benitez (pictured), 31, assaulted John Davies in May 2016, ultimately causing his death in April 2019, aged 56, the Old Bailey was told.
The defendant had denied murder, claiming he acted in self defence and someone else was responsible for the significant injuries that Mr Davies suffered.
An Old Bailey jury deliberated for nearly 18 hours to acquit Benitez of murder but find him guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter.
During the trial, jurors have heard Benitez and Mr Davies’ daughter had a “volatile” relationship.
They both blamed her parents when her young son was taken into care, prosecutor Tom Little KC had said.
Mr Little told jurors: “The rights and wrongs of the decision to take him into care are irrelevant but what is not irrelevant is that the defendant appears to have been angry about what he perceived to be an injustice and for which the deceased and his wife were in part to blame.”
Benitez had set upon Mr Davies at his ex-wife’s home in Streatham Hill, south London.
Mr Little said: “This was a one-sided attack in which a younger and stronger man, the defendant, assaulted John Davies as well as causing damage to the property.
“Upon the return of the deceased’s ex-wife, Lynn Davies, she came across both the defendant and her ex-husband who was gravely injured.
“The defendant attacked her too, injuring her and making threats.”
During the assaults, Benitez took possessions, including bank cards belonging to the victims’ son, jurors were told.
Mr Little told jurors an issue in the case would be whether the assault in 2016 caused or contributed to Mr Davies’ death in 2019.
He said: “The deceased never made any real recovery from the severe injuries caused by the fists and feet of the defendant.
“We suggest… you are likely to have little difficultly in determining that the defendant’s brutal attack on John Davies was the cause of his ultimate death.”
Following the verdict on Monday, Benitez, formerly from Wandsworth, south London, was remanded into custody to be sentenced on September 22.
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