Private Boyd’s killer given life sentence

Private Matthew Boyd. Photo: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire
Private Matthew Boyd. Photo: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire

A boxer who boasted that he was the “hardest man” in his town has been jailed for life after murdering a 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 of the charge following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

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

After the sentence, Superintendent David Guiney 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.”

At 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.”

After tours in Northern Ireland, Pte Boyd was sent to Brecon. On May 7 he went out with soldiers but was separated from them. He went to the Cellar Bar, where Vallely was. After sentencing, his family said: “Jake Vallely has created a void in our family that will never be filled.”