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Three men jailed after death of man in Ashton
Monday 19th December 2016 @ 18:19 by Adam Higgins
Ashton News

Three men have been jailed for their part in the death of a 69-year-old man in Ashton.

Twenty-year-old Patrick McDonagh, of Milnrow, Patrick Cawley, 22, of Chadderton, and Martin Ward Jnr, 25, of Rochdale, have been jailed today (Monday) at Manchester Crown Court after being convicted of the manslaughter of James Ray, aggravated vehicle taking (causing death) and conspiracy to steal.

Jailed: Patrick McDonagh

McDonagh has been sentenced to eight years and four months in prison, while Cawley has been sentenced to seven years and Ward Jnr 13 years in prison.

Convicted: Martin Ward Jr

As part of the same hearing, three other men have also been convicted of conspiracy to steal, which is unconnected to the death of Mr Ray.

Martin Patrick Ward Snr, 45, of Heywood, has been sentenced to five years in prison, while two other men, aged 23 and 39, received suspended sentences.

Sometime before 12pm on November 12, 2015, delivery driver James Ray made a stop at the Plantation Industrial Estate as part of his work route and climbed into the back of his van to grab the product he was dropping off.

The precise circumstances leading to his death have never been established, however, it is believed that James fell out of the back door of the van as it was being stolen and driven away, causing the injuries which proved to be fatal.

As the van continued to drive away at speed with Cawley and McDonagh inside, Ward Jnr followed in a Ford Fiesta that the three had originally arrived in, leaving Mr Ray lying on the floor with catastrophic injuries.

He was found sometime later and taken to hospital where he tragically died in the early hours of November 13, 2015, on what would have been his 70th birthday.

Victim: James Ray

The Fiesta was later recovered in the Heywood area and further enquiries into the car found that it had been, amongst other vehicles, linked to a number of commercial thefts and burglaries over the previous four months.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Crewe, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “This has been a very complex investigation, involving numerous offenders involved in a variety of offences but I am pleased to say that these men have finally been brought to justice.

“The day James Ray died he should have been celebrating his 70th birthday with his loved ones but instead he was taken from them as a result of a thoughtless act committed by Mark Ward Jnr, Patrick McDonagh and Patrick Cawley.

“Although it won’t bring James back, I hope the sentence passed today will bring his loved ones some form of closure and help them rebuild their lives.”