Family’s anger at Billy Dove affray sentence

Ben Sears - a defendant in the Billy Dove murder case.
Ben Sears - a defendant in the Billy Dove murder case.

The Dove family has called for public support to enforce a booze ban imposed on a teenager who sparked violence last year that led to Billy’s tragic death.

Ben Sears, 18, of Belsize Road, Hemel Hempstead, was slapped with a prohibition order banning him from being found intoxicated in any public place for the next two years when he appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court on Friday after admitting affray.

The court was told Sears was a nasty drunk who had taken cocaine and was armed with knuckle dusters when he lashed out at Billy’s group in the early hours of November 6.

Sears was spoiling for a fight with a bouncer at the Function Rooms who he believed was having an affair with his mother, but he was refused entry.

His mother was inside the club at the time and spoke to him through the bars of a gate ‘to calm him down but it’s clear he did not calm down’, the court was told.

Judge Stephen Gullick, sentencing Sears to a two-year supervision order and 100 hours’ unpaid work, said: “I am in no doubt that you were fuelled up that night.”

The Dove family say they are ‘absolutely devastated’ by the leniency of the sentence but are calling for members of the public to help enforce the ban.

His father Paul said: “The law in this country has really let my Billy down.

“So now we are in a position where Ben Sears is at liberty to live a normal life and go freely around the town, out with friends in the evenings and all the things my son should be doing.

“Sadly for us Billy won’t ever be able to do that again, plus Billy had such a promising future, too.

“I would do anything to have Billy back, I mean anything. I love and miss my son so much and I will keep fighting and campaigning to make sure Billy is never forgotten.

“We have asked people on Facebook to make sure that if they see Sears in a pub with alcohol or drugs, they telephone the police and report him. We’d go further than that and ask Pubwatch and local landlords to call the police the moment he has been served with alcohol.”

Herts police have refused to issue a picture of Sears.

Darren McGrath, 17, of Essex Mead, Hemel Hempstead, has been jailed for a minimum of 14 years for murder. Carl Williams, 21, and Charlie Samson, 18, have been sentenced for affray following the death.