Two men have been officially acquitted of negligently manslaughter of a DPD delivery driver in Horden

Joseph Henry Niles and Gary Peter Hepworth were arrested following the incident on a terraced street in Horden, County Durham, on Sunday March 19 this year.

Police and paramedics were called after DPD delivery driver Andrew James Coyles reportedly collapsed on Handley Street just before 11.15am.

However, in a subsequent statement, Durham Police confirmed: “Officers and paramedics attended, but unfortunately a man was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The Northern Echo:

At that time, a man was arrested in connection with the incident, but a second suspect was subsequently arrested.

Officers cordoned off the street and two adjacent side alleys while initial investigations saw a forensic tent next to a white DPD van on Terrassenstrasse arrested.

Read more: Hordes incident: Tragedy as police confirm man has died

Following further inquiries the two men arrested, 41-year-old Niles of no fixed abode and 43-year-old Hepworth of Greenside Avenue, Peterlee, were charged with the manslaughter of Mr Coyles.

Both appeared before Peterlee magistrates on March 22 when the case was committed to Durham Crown Court.

Read more: Incident in Horden: Two charged with manslaughter over death of DPD driver

Appearing at a crown court hearing on Wednesday, April 19, they denied the charge of manslaughter.

Both also denied a separate case of stealing a mobile phone and wallet from Mr Coyles.

Hepworth was again charged with assaulting an emergency worker while in custody. He also pleaded not guilty to this count.

The case was adjourned for a trial due to begin yesterday (Wednesday September 6) at Teesside Crown Court.

But as the case was heard in court, prosecutor Paul Abrahams said the Crown had decided not to pursue the manslaughter charge after considering the available evidence last month.

The public prosecutor therefore presented “no evidence” for the charge of manslaughter.

The Recorder, Peter Reid, officially gave a “not guilty” verdict on this charge.

He said that while they were not legally responsible for Mr Coyles’ death, they “undoubtedly” bore a “moral” responsibility.

Both defendants changed their pleas and each admitted the theft charge.

Hepworth also changed his plea and admitted charges related to the attack on an emergency worker.

Recorder Reid handed both men six-month prison sentences for the theft, but added a further two months consecutively to Hepworth’s sentence for the attack on the emergency worker.

In a tribute released by Durham Police, his three children Katie, Rebecca and James said in the days after Mr Handley’s death: “There will never be the words to describe the way we fell.”

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“Nothing ever prepares you for this pain and pain.

“Our hearts are broken. We love you so much and will continue to make you proud every day, just like you always told us.

“It’s just, ‘See you later, Dad.’ It’s not goodbye.” Two men have been officially acquitted of negligently manslaughter of a DPD delivery driver in Horden

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