IT was an ordinary Saturday night in Stroud.

Bars were filling up and the atmosphere was beginning to build in and around the town centre on a typically chilly February evening in 2017.

Groups of friends were catching up over a drink, filling the air with laughter and excited chatter, blissfully unaware of the incident that was about to shake the community to its core.

Among those out that night was Jack Mitchell, a 24-year-old gunner in the 32 Regiment Royal Artillery.

Jack, who provided communication for troops and operated the radio in the field, had recently been on a tour in Kenya for six months with the Army and had returned to his hometown of Stroud while on leave.

He started the day watching Painswick RFC play a derby match against Stroud, before watching England get off to a stellar start to their Six Nations campaign by beating France 19-16.

In buoyant mood after a triumphant win for England, Jack headed to the Lord John pub in Russell Street for a drink with his father Julian, his great uncle Chris Finch and friends.

Just around the corner, Jake Davies, a 29-year-old plumber from Stroud, was drinking at Curio Lounge in King Street. He had also been at the Bowbridge Arms and the Greyhound pub earlier in the evening.

Having enjoyed a drink with his dad and great uncle, Jack and his four friends left the Lord John and headed to the Warehouse nightclub just up the road at around 11.15pm, that night, February 5 three years ago.

After entering the nightclub with his friends, the group proceeded to the upstairs dancefloor.

Less than an hour later, Jake Davies, father-of-one, also entered the club with two friends.

Jack, like many of the Warehouse’s customers that night, was having a good time and enjoying himself as the night trundled into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Just before 2am, Jack was back-to-back with his friend Julie Basset, dancing enthusiastically, which brought him in to contact with Davies.

Davies had been knocked and nothing more, but this contact was enough to anger the 29-year-old, who, as Julie Basset later recounted, then told Jack to ‘Watch the **** what you’re doing.’

A brief stand-off ensued between the two, but the incident seemed to have diffused when a member of the door staff intervened and the two parted ways.

But tragically for Jack, Davies wasn’t finished.

The subsequent week-long Bristol Crown Court hearing was told that the two separated for two-and-a-half minutes while Jack had moved to the bar.

After Jack returned to the dancefloor, Davies walked back towards him as the two came face-to-face with each other.

Davies, who had been boxing for a short period of time, then hit Jack so hard that he didn’t even have a chance to break his fall.

A single punch was delivered with such force that it severed an artery.

As he lay on the floor, Jack was seen frothing at the mouth as he suffered a bleed on the brain from a half centimetre arterial haemorrhage.

Paramedics were called, but despite their best efforts, just before 3am, the doctor and other medical professionals took the decision not to continue CPR and at 3.06am Jack’s life was sadly over.

After the attack, witnesses recounted how Davies had stood over Jack, before turning and walking away.

The 29-year-old didn’t stop to collect his coat and as he left the club, a doorman spotted him, and the police were informed.

He was then arrested on suspicion of GBH, then murder, before being charged with manslaughter.

At the police station he was told that his punch had killed Jack.

Davies pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and throughout the trial he said he had acted in self-defence and thought he was going to be attacked, although Jack had his hands by his side and what appeared to be a drink in his hand at the time the punch was thrown.

Numerous witnesses said there was no aggression displayed by Jack, and CCTV footage from the nightclub caught the moment Davies launched the attack.

During the trial, the court heard how Davies told police he had only drunk four or five pints that evening, although the prosecution doubted this given he had started drinking before 6pm.

Jake Davies was convicted of manslaughter at Bristol Crown Court in November 2017 and is currently serving a six-and-a-half-year jail term.

Jack’s death highlighted the devastating impact a single act of violence can have.

As Detective Inspector Richard Pegler told the court: “This incident demonstrates just how fragile we are and the devastating effect that one punch can have.”

Jack’s passing had a huge impact on his family, those who knew him as well as the wider community.

Stroud and towns further afield responded by raising more than £5,000 in Jack’s name and with each passing year, a memorial match is played at Painswick RFC to raise money in his name.

During his time in Kenya, Jack and his army colleagues often volunteered to work at local orphanages.

His family agreed that he would have wanted a large proportion of the fund to support the children he had seen in the orphanages in Kenya.

Jack’s fund has enabled four girls to have a scholarship to high school in the East African country, showing he is still having a huge impact on people’s lives, and his memory lives on.