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Welsh boxer Vallely jailed for murdering Belfast soldier Matthew Boyd

Life sentence for 'hardest man' after NI troop's killing

By Claire Hayhurst

A boxer who boasted that he was the "hardest man" in his town has been jailed for life after murdering a Northern Ireland soldier on a night out.

Private Matthew Boyd (20) of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, died in the barracks town of Brecon, South Wales, in the early hours of May 8.

Jake Vallely (24) chased Belfast-born Pte Boyd, punched him to the ground and beat him before dragging his body and dumping it in the road.

The amateur boxer admitted hitting the soldier but denied murder. He was convicted after a trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

Vallely, of Pen-y-Bryn, Brecon, was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 16 years in prison.

Following the sentence, Detective Superintendent David Guiney of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: "Matthew Boyd was a young man enjoying a night out in Brecon with his friends.

"The violent attack he suffered, which resulted in his tragic death, was a despicable act and one that shocked the community of Brecon and Matthew's military friends and colleagues.

"I wish to extend my condolences to Matthew's family. No prison sentence can bring him back, however I hope that the verdict does bring some form of justice and peace."

During the trial, Christopher Quinlan QC said: "Jake Vallely is the self-proclaimed hardest man in Brecon.

"That was how he described himself an hour or so before the attack that killed Mr Boyd. Mr Boyd was punched. He went to the ground and thereafter he was beaten until he moved no more.

"Mr Vallely then dragged and dumped his body and ran off. He ran back to the bar where he continued his night."

Pte Boyd's family said following the verdict: "Jake Vallely has created a void in our family that will never be filled.

"He has taken our son, brother, grandson and friend with no reason or excuse.

"No punishment will justify his actions as our son will not knock on our door again, and we will never be able to touch, feel, kiss or see him again.

"This unbearable pain is something we will have to live with for the rest of our lives.

"During this trial, it has been mentioned that Jake Vallely called himself the 'hardest man in Brecon' on the night that he murdered Matthew.

"He couldn't have been more wrong.

"There has been such a massive outpouring of love from the community in Brecon towards our family, in our mind, those are the strongest people in Brecon, those who reject mindless violence and instead show compassion, love and respect for others.

"It is the rest of the community in Brecon who have shown the true colours of that town, a town which will always remain in our hearts."

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