A teenage thug who killed a stranger with a single punch during an unprovoked attack outside a McDonald’s has been jailed for just four years.
Arthur Billings, 19, struck Bradley Matcham, 24, who he did not know, in a random assault in Northampton town centre in the early hours of February 9 this year.
A court heard Mr Matcham was completely defenceless at the time, with his hands in his pockets and head turned away when he was felled by the fatal blow.
The “kind-hearted and inspirational” young man fell to the floor unconscious before being rushed to hospital where he died from his injuries nine days later.
Billings, of Harpole, Northants., admitted manslaughter at Northampton Crown Court in July as was jailed today (Mon) at the same court.
During the hearing, Mr Matcham’s mum bravely took to the stand to read out a heartbreaking victim impact statement and address Billings directly.
She told the defendant: ““When you wake up tomorrow morning to a new day, I would like you to reflect on one thing – all of Bradley’s tomorrows have ended.”
Mrs Matcham added: “Anyone that had the good fortune of meeting Bradley described him as kind-hearted, dependable, intuitive and inspiring.
“He was 24-years-old, he’d just got a promotion at work, he had his own home and supported himself entirely. He had so much to live for.
“When a mother gives birth she has an instinctive need to protect her child and that doesn’t change as they get older.
“We are not designed to bury our children and we are not prepared for how to deal with it. In those nine days after he was punched, I watched my son fade away.
“My heart was ripped out when he died and it is a pain that will haunt me for the rest of my life. All I have left are visits to the cemetery.”
Sentencing, Judge Rupert Mayo said “Bradley was a truly exceptional young man” and told Billings: “You have destroyed the lives of not just Bradley, but of his family, friends and loved ones as well.”
Detective Constable Spencer Bailey, of Northamptonshire Police, said afterwards: “This case is an exceptionally tragic one.
“At the young age of 24, Bradley had his whole life ahead of him and on the night he was killed, he was simply trying to enjoy a night out to celebrate his recent promotion.
“The court today was packed with the family and friends of Bradley whose lives have been completely torn apart as a result of his death and I truly hope this case demonstrates the devastating and catastrophic consequences that one punch can have.”