Richard Elmes has been found guilty of Trowbridge builder Adrian Cooksey’s manslaughter after a jury gave a majority verdict at Bristol Crown Court at 2.05pm today.
The jury, who spent 13 hours and 15 minutes deliberating the case, found 10 to two in favour that Elmes, 51, of Semington Road, Melksham was guilty of the death of his childhood friend Mr Cooksey, in the early hours of March 8, 2009.
Elmes did not react when the verdict was read out but Mr Cooksey’s two sons, Adam and Michael, responded emotionally in the gallery.
Elmes has been released on bail for a pre-sentence report to be prepared but judge Neil Ford QC told him a custodial sentence was inevitable.
Mr Cooksey was found unconscious in Spa Road, Melksham, in the early hours of March 8, 2009, and died later that day in hospital from head injuries.
Elmes denied punching Mr Cooksey in a confrontation over an affair Elmes had with the wife of a mutual friend back in 1984 but he admitted perjury on the first day of the trial.
Secret police recordings of conversations between Elmes and his wife revealed him admitted to telling "porkies" in is evidence during the 2009 trial of student Thomas Minshull, in which he said he had not been in Spa Road with Mr Cooksey or having an argument with him.
In fact, he did recall being in Spa Road and the confrontation, which he says he walked away from after Mr Cooksey got "punchy".
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Saunders, investigating officer, said: “Obviously I’m very pleased by today’s result and I think the jury came to the right verdict today. It has been a long protracted investigation complicated by the first trial.”
He went on to describe Mr Cooksey as a "loving family man who didn’t deserve his fate", and praised his family.
He said: “Through the process they have displayed understanding and dignity.”
Describing Elmes, he added: “He is a man who under drink displays violence.
"Mr Cooksey died as a consequence of being hit by Mr Elmes, he knew what he had done and fled the scene and didn’t seek help or an ambulance. This led to Mr Cooksey’s death.”