Teenager jailed for manslaughter of Len Saunders

Luke Woods who has been sentenced to four years and four months in detention at Liverpool Crown Court after he fatally punched Len Saunders because he didn't give him a cigarette
Luke Woods who has been sentenced to four years and four months in detention at Liverpool Crown Court after he fatally punched Len Saunders because he didn't give him a cigarette

A teenager has been sentenced today for the manslaughter of popular St Helens pensioner, Len Saunders.

Mr Saunders, known for his work in the town’s arts community as both an actor and poet, was attacked by Luke Woods on Ward Street in the town centre on Friday, July 21.

Len Saunders, a popular figure described by family and friends as a "beautiful soul", was killed by teenager Luke Woods

Len Saunders, a popular figure described by family and friends as a "beautiful soul", was killed by teenager Luke Woods

Woods, 17, stopped Mr Saunders, known as Len Banana, asking him for cigarette.

When Mr Saunders said he did not smoke, Woods punched him, knocking him to the ground.

Woods, of Union Street, St Helens, was sentenced today at Liverpool Crown Court to four years and four months in a young offenders’ institute.

The judge also lifted reporting restrictions, allowing Woods to be named.

Mr Saunders was attacked as he walked with a friend. He was left with a serious head injury and died a few days later.

Det Insp Louise Birchall said: “This was a completely unprovoked assault on a much older man who was simply out and about with his friend.

“When they said that they didn’t smoke so couldn’t offer them a cigarette Mr Saunders was punched in the face. The punch has knocked him to the floor where he has hit his head and later died in hospital.

“No sentence will ever bring Mr Saunders back but we hope that it will give his family a sense of closure and allow them to get on with their lives.

“Hopefully it will also give Luke Woods the chance to reflect on his actions and the impact it has had not only on the family of Mr Saunders but also his own family and friends.”