The mother of a 'truly exceptional young man' killed in a one-punch attack on a night-out in Northampton directly addressed his killer in court as he was jailed today (Monday, September 9).
Arthur Billings was sentenced to four years in prison at a packed Northampton Crown Court having previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Bradley Matcham.
The victim's mother said to the 19-year-old, of Harpole, in the dock: "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.”
In July, Billings admitted to punching Bradley next to an alleyway in The Drapery in the early hours of Saturday, February 9, following a heated exchange of words.
When Bradley was punched, his hands were in his pockets and his head was turned away, giving him no opportunity to defend himself, a police spokesman said.
At no point did he provoke the punch or threaten Billings in any way, they added.
Bradley, who had never met Billings before, fell to the floor unconscious and was taken to hospital where he died nine days later on February 18.
The victim's mother bravely said in a statement in court: “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.”
In his sentencing remarks, His Honour Judge Mayo commented on how Bradley was a "truly exceptional young man".
Addressing Billings he said: “You have destroyed the lives of not just Bradley, but of his family, friends and loved ones as well.”
Detective Constable Spencer Bailey, from Northamptonshire Police’s major crime team, said: “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.”