A mindless killer who murdered a man out celebrating his birthday in Kettering has been jailed for life.
Aaron Muggleton, 25 and formerly of Alexandra Street in Kettering, was told he must serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars at Northampton Crown Court today (Tuesday).
He was convicted of murdering 39-year-old Simon Mushonga, from Bedford, as he celebrated his birthday in Kettering last December.
Mr Mushonga was attacked in Carrington Street in the early hours of December 8 as he tried to diffuse a disagreement between one of his friends, Muggleton and a teenage girl.
Muggleton punched Mr Mushonga three times, with the final punch fracturing his eye socket and causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head, leaving him with a fatal head injury.
As Mr Mushonga lay unconscious Muggleton, who admitted having drunk vodka and taken cocaine that night, stole his credit card from his pocket.
His friend was also attacked by Muggleton and the teenage girl, who both hit him before stamping on him as he lay on the floor.
Despite the efforts of police officers, paramedics and hospital staff, Mr Mushonga never regained consciousness and died in hospital the following day.
Sentencing, Judge Adrienne Lucking described Muggleton as the ‘persistent aggressor’ in the incident, and said Mr Mushonga’s family were devastated and traumatised by his death.
She said: “He has been described as a kind, warm and peaceful man who used his experience to help others. He has left a huge gap in many lives.”
Detective Inspector Stuart Hitchon, from Northamptonshire Police’s Major Crime Team, said: “Simon Mushonga was a gentle, peace-loving, responsible and genuine person, who simply wanted a quiet night out to celebrate his birthday. Instead this innocent man lost his life in a completely unprovoked attack, leaving his family devastated.
“Simon’s two children, a son aged 11 and a daughter aged nine, have been robbed of their father. His parents have lost a loving and devoted son, and his siblings are left without a brother who was a best friend, confidante, and protector.
“I hope today’s sentencing brings them some comfort and a sense of justice for Simon, although nothing will take away the pain they feel at having to live without him.
“As this case so tragically highlights, a single punch can kill. Simon Mushonga paid the ultimate price for the mindless violence that Aaron Muggleton chose to inflict, and it is right that he has received a lengthy sentence for that.
“Not only did he kill Simon, but he has also been found guilty of two other unprovoked assaults, and I hope he uses the time his prison sentence affords him to reflect on the devastating consequences of his actions.”
Muggleton will serve at least 17 years for Mr Mushonga’s murder, minus time spent on remand, before a parole board can consider his release and will remain on licence for the rest of his life.
He was also sentenced to two years for actual bodily harm against Mr Mushonga’s friend, and another two years for grievous bodily harm relating to an assault on a man outside Abacus nightclub in Kettering on November 17, 2018.
For the theft of Mr Mushonga’s credit card, Muggleton was sentenced to six months. All three sentences will be served concurrently with his life term.
No separate penalty was imposed for the possession of cannabis and the breach of a conditional discharge.