‘My son was not a violent person’

Operation Gaskin ' family pay tribute to soldier who died following assault in Portsmouth' 'The family of a soldier who died after being assaulted outside a Portsmouth bar last week are paying tribute to him. ' 'Private Matt Brooks passed away on Tuesday, May 18, having been assaulted outside Yates's bar on Guildhall Walk on Thursday, May 13.
Operation Gaskin ' family pay tribute to soldier who died following assault in Portsmouth' 'The family of a soldier who died after being assaulted outside a Portsmouth bar last week are paying tribute to him. ' 'Private Matt Brooks passed away on Tuesday, May 18, having been assaulted outside Yates's bar on Guildhall Walk on Thursday, May 13.

Taxi driver assaulted by youth with knife in Southsea

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THE mother of a soldier who died after he was viciously attacked has described him as a thoughtful and special individual.

Private Matt Brooks died after suffering severe head injuries following a fight with Dean Aldcroft in a Portsmouth car park on May 13 last year.

Yesterday, on the third and final day of the inquest into his death, statements written by his family and friends were read out by the coroner.

Mum Alison Brooks, said: ‘We are a very close family. I would describe Matt as a very thoughtful boy.

‘He’s not a violent individual. He’s more likely to be looking for a laugh than for trouble.

‘I would describe Matt as a very special individual.

‘He liked to give to others. He always had a lot of friends.’

Pte Brooks, 18, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, pictured, had been training at HMS Sultan in Gosport at the time of the attack.

Dylan Young, who worked alongside him as a marine engineer, said: ‘Matt was a very sensible guy.

‘He was easy to wind up but despite any amount of provocation he would not resort to violence.’

Christopher Casteleiro, also a marine engineer, said: ‘He was a hugely motivated and driven individual who appeared to have planned out a successful career for himself in detail.

‘He was one of my best friends. He was a down-to-earth guy, quite chilled out. He was a popular guy.’

The pair also spoke about the night of his death, when they had gone out for a few drinks.

They both said that Pte Brooks was in good spirits when they left him earlier in the evening.

This week Southampton Coroner’s Court has heard from a number of witnesses recounting the night Pte Brooks and Mr Aldcroft met in Yates’s bar in Guildhall Walk.

A fight broke out and the pair and their friends were thrown out.

Moments later they met in the Alec Rose car park nearby, and witnesses told how Mr Aldcroft repeatedly punched and kicked Pte Brooks.

Mr Aldcroft insists he only hit Pte Brooks once.

The 22-year-old, from Warwick Crescent in Southsea, was initially charged with manslaughter and common assault but the charges were later dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service said it had insufficient evidence.

Keith Wiseman, coroner for Southampton, adjourned the case until December 15, when he will deliver his verdict.