A heartbroken father today criticised the courts for handing his son’s killer just five years in jail.
Gary Curry died after he was punched and head-butted by Matthew Bramhall during a drink-fuelled fight in a Blackpool flat last year.
And today, after Bramhall was told he would swerve five years behind bars, devastated Mervyn Curry, Gary’s father, said: “It is the victim’s family that has been punished, not the criminal.”
Tragically, Mr Curry also revealed his son had been planning to return to his native Northern Ireland before he died.
Gary was found unresponsive in a flat on Eaves Street, North Shore, on July 11 last year by his flatmates.
Police and paramedics were called but Gary was declared dead at the scene – and last month Bramhall, 29, of no fixed address, admitted his manslaughter at Preston Crown Court.
Mr Curry, 67, from Portballintrae, said: “Gary had a lifestyle none of us liked, but he didn’t need to live that kind of lifestyle.
“He had lived in England a long time and he had holidayed in Blackpool when he was a child, he just loved Blackpool.
“But the Thursday before he was killed he rang me to say ‘Dad, I’ve got my tickets and I’m coming home, can you sort out a house.’
“Then on July 12 I had just come home and an inspector rang to say Gary was dead.”
Preston Crown Court heard on Friday Gary died from internal bleeding after suffering a fractured skull.
Louise Blackwell, prosecuting, said Bramhall’s girlfriend had ripped up Gary’s tickets to Ireland immediately before Bramhall assaulted him.
Gary went to the community centre on Egerton Road to report the assault, but when police arrived at the flat Gary appeared to be sleeping and his flatmates said he had fallen and they would look after him.
It was only six hours later they realised there was a significant problem and called an ambulance.
Jailing Bramhall for five years, Judge Pamela Badley said: “This was a tragic case in which a man has lost his life in circumstances which otherwise would have been no more than an ugly example of drunken violence.”