FOR Joel Alexander, the punch which killed Ian Baynham was also a devastating blow to his own life.

Before he threw the punch which ended the life of 62-year-old Mr Baynham, Alexander was by all accounts considered a decent young man from a loving family who had a bright future ahead, with a place at the University of East London awaiting him.

Indeed, a police officer and a school headteacher had talked about the 20-year-old in glowing terms in statements to the Old Bailey before he was sentenced.

Kerim Fuad, representing Alexander, told the court he had only punched Mr Baynham to defend Thomas, and “could not have thought or envisaged for a moment the quite catastrophic consequences that followed that punch”.

Mr Fuad said: “We know that he did not start the incident, and that blame lies at the feet of Ruby Thomas.

“It was one blow that was not followed up. It was a spontaneous attack for which he only had a few seconds to think.

“It was an impulsive and ill thought out attack.”

Mr Fuad added that Alexander had repeatedly expressed his remorse for the death of Mr Baynham, and had suffered sleepless nights since the incident.

Alexander’s anguish and remorse will do little to comfort the friends and family of Mr Baynham, but it could be evidence that the 20-year-old from Thornton Heath is not the cold blooded killer many believe him to be.