No one expected the outcome of a hockey game in England to end with bloodshed. But that’s what happened after a player’s skate hit another player in the neck.
The player began to bleed heavily as he was taken off the ice. He later died from his injuries. Now, the player who caused the injury is being investigated for manslaughter. Will he be charged, and if so, what consequences will he face?
What Happened on the Ice?
October 28, 2023, was an ordinary day on the ice at Utilita Arena in Sheffield, England. The Sheffield Steelers were taking on the Nottingham Panthers in a Challenge Cup game.
In the second period, Adam Johnson, a 29-year-old member of the Nottingham Panthers, had the puck and was skating toward the net. Sheffield Steelers player Matt Petgrave skated quickly in Johnson’s direction. When he got closer, he collided with another Panther player, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
The collision caused Petgrave to kick his left skate into the air, where it made contact with Johnson’s neck.
Johnson hit the ground and began bleeding. He was able to stand and was helped to the side of the rink where he collapsed. He was rushed to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital, but his injury was too severe.
Johnson died from “an incised wound to the neck caused by the skate of another player,” the coroner’s report would later indicate.
The Police Begin Their Investigation
The Nottingham Panthers called what happened on the ice that day a “freak accident.”
But South Yorkshire Police (SYP) investigated it as a crime.
Detective chief superintendent, Becs Horsfall said in a police statement, “Our investigation launched immediately following this tragedy, and we have been carrying out extensive enquiries ever since to piece together the events which led to the loss of Adam in these unprecedented circumstances.”
Their investigation led to Petgrave being arrested on suspicion of manslaughter on November 14, 2023.
Arrested for Suspicion of Manslaughter
Johnson was brought in for questioning and released the same day on police bail. He was not charged.
It appears police are not ready to make a decision on whether or not to charge Johnson.
SYP police detective chief superintendent Becs Horsfall said, “We have been speaking to highly specialized experts in their field to assist in our enquiries and continue to work closely with the health and safety department at Sheffield City Council, which is supporting our ongoing investigation.”
In the United Kingdom, manslaughter is defined similarly to how it is defined in the United States. Manslaughter is charged when a person engaged in conduct that was grossly negligent or in some way unlawful and their actions resulted in the death of another person.
Unlike murder, there is no premeditation in the case of manslaughter. The responsible party did not intend to kill another person.
In Florida, manslaughter is defined under Florida Statute 782.07. For a defendant to be found guilty of manslaughter, one or more of the following things must be proven.
- The defendant must have intentionally completed an act that led to the death of another person.
- The defendant must have persuaded or encouraged another person to complete an act that led to that person’s death.
- The defendant must have been culpably negligent which led to the death of another person.
What Consequence Does The Player Face?
In England, there is no mandatory or minimum sentence for manslaughter. A judge gives out the punishment based on the unique case. A judge may sentence a person convicted of manslaughter to no jail time, or they could deliver a sentence of life in prison. If Petgrave were charged and convicted, a judge would determine his fate.
In Florida, manslaughter by culpable negligence is a second-degree felony. It can result in up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
In the United States, a case like this could also lead to a possible wrongful death case. A wrongful death case is a civil lawsuit filed when a person has died as a result of the negligence of another person or business.
At this time, it is unclear if Petgrave will be officially charged with a crime. Police will continue their investigation to see if they have enough evidence to file criminal charges.
See All Sides with an Attorney You Can Trust
In many situations, the lines of the law can be blurry. If you are involved in any type of legal matter — whether it be civil or criminal — make sure you have an attorney who can help you see all sides. Work with an attorney who will help you make sense of your case and fight to get you the best possible outcome.
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