Man jailed for murder of Ivan Barrs who died 11 years after violent attack

Paul Smith court case

A 29-year-old has been jailed after being found guilty of murdering a man who died 11 years after he was the victim of a violent attack.

Paul Smith was 16 when he punched and stamped on the head of 34-year-old Ivan Barrs during an attack outside Minster House, Northampton Street, Leicester, in April 2003.

He pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and was jailed in January 2004 before being released in May 2008.

Mr Barrs was left in a persistent vegetative state after the attack and when he died of pneumonia on March 28 last year, Smith was rearrested and charged with murder.

Smith was found guilty of murder at Leicester Crown Court and was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 10 years, which was then reduced to four years and five months to account for time already served in prison.

Speaking after the sentencing on Friday, Ivan's mother Eleanor Badi, said: "The day he murdered my son he murdered me. The pain has been immense. During the 11 years before my son died he suffered a lot both physically and mentally. It was very painful for me. I lived his pain, I physically felt it. I prayed it would be me and not Ivan.

"When he was first in hospital I whispered to him 'mum is here for you. I will never let you down and I will always be here for you'. I have never broken that promise.

"I don't think there will ever be any closure to this for me. The only person who is truly at peace now is Ivan.

"I always said I was going to have my son home one day. Sadly it was not in life. It was never to be."

Detective Constable Nick Evans, of Leicestershire Police, said: "One act of violence more than a decade ago has ruined several lives. Ivan's, his families and Smith's.

"I am sure that when Smith carried out this assault he never thought he would find himself on a murder charge. The consequences of his actions that night 11 years ago are a reminder to everyone that one act of violence can ruin the lives of so many."