Ballet dancer jailed for killing man who stood on his son's foot

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A dancer who was the first black student to go to the Royal College of Ballet was jailed for three years yesterday for killing a man with a single blow after the stranger accidentally stood on his son's foot and tried to apologise.

A dancer who was the first black student to go to the Royal College of Ballet was jailed for three years yesterday for killing a man with a single blow after the stranger accidentally stood on his son's foot and tried to apologise.

Michael John-Charles, 38, from Greenford, Middlesex, launched the blow in a "moment of madness" in a London Underground station in May. He was approaching the ticket barrier to leave Wembley Park Tube station and his five-year-old son was tottering ahead, excited about feeding his ticket through the barrier, when another passenger, Vipula Prassana, accidentally stood on the boy's foot, the Old Bailey heard. "It was a trivial incident, the sort of accident which happens from time to time in public places like an Underground station," Judge Giles Forrester said.

He told John-Charles: "Instead of putting the matter to one side as any sensible person would have done, you lost your temper with this complete stranger. You swore at him and were aggressive and hostile and you threatened him. The victim was quite blameless. He went to apologise and touch the boy in a gesture of conciliation, but you took exception and struck him in the mouth."

The blow split Mr Prassana's lip and he fell, hitting his head and fracturing his skull. Mr Prassana,40, a shopkeeper from Sudbury, north-west London, who had four children, died three days later.

John-Charles, who has danced on the TV programme Top of the Pops, denied murder but admitted manslaughter. "He totally overreacted," said his counsel, Dee Connolly. "It was one blow, not premeditated; a moment of madness." He said his client had not realised the seriousness of the incident and left the scene. But he surrendered to police after he learnt Mr Prassana had died.

Mr Connolly said John-Charles, whose wife is seven months pregnant with his second child, "can't believe how stupid he is for what he did".