A man has been sentenced to eight-years-and-eight-months following the manslaughter of another man in Stoke-on-Trent.

Joseph Steven Forster, 29, of Philip Street, Fenton, pleaded guilty to manslaughter of 44-year-old Keith Rowlands at Stafford Crown Court on 14 March and was sentenced the same day.

The extended sentence of eight-years-and-eight-months, comprises of a six-years-and-eight-months custodial sentence together with a two-year extended licence.

The judge extended Forster’s sentence for two years on licence as she deemed him dangerous.

On the evening of Friday 18 December 2020, Keith Rowlands was at his home in Nellan Crescent Smallthorne, drinking with a member of his family. At some point in the evening friends were invited to join them. One friend was with Joseph Forster and asked if it was ok to bring him. Keith was happy to welcome Forster as long as he did not cause trouble.

The men played cards and drank together but as the evening progressed witnesses described Foster’s mood as becoming ‘agitated and erratic’.

Keith and Forster went into the kitchen. A witness heard what he described as “scuffles on the kitchen floor” and a “couple of bangs”. A witness said he saw Forster punch Keith in the face who then fell to the floor.

Emergency services attended and Keith was taken to hospital by the ambulance service but sadly died later that day.

Forster was arrested on the afternoon of 19 December.

The post mortem concluded that the cause of death was bleeding on the surface of the brain caused by blunt force trauma to the head/neck.  

Senior Investigating Officer, DI Adrian Webb, of the force’s Major Investigations Department, said: “Mr Rowlands welcomed Forster into his house as a guest and he repaid that gesture with a violent attack that resulted in Mr Rowlands unlawful death. My thoughts go out to Keith’s family and I hope the sentence provides some degree of closure.”

Joseph Forster, pictured below