The Brisbane Supreme Court in Australia on Friday (13 October) sentenced a man to seven years in prison for punching a teenager in the head, leading to his death.
Teenage water polo star Cole Miller of Brisbane died on 5 January 2016, two days after he was punched by Armstrong Renata, 23, while Cole was out with a friend. He was on a life support system after suffering the blow and hitting the ground.
Daniel Maxwell, who was with Renata at the time of the crime, had reportedly tried to start three other fights while walking through the Fortitude Valley in Brisbane before the duo spotted Cole and his friend Nicholas Pace, the court was told, the Courier Mail reported.
While approaching Cole and Pace, Maxwell had told Renata, "Do you want to see something funny?" before punching Cole in the chest.
Following suit, Renata punched Cole in the head, causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground. Prosecutors told the court that Cole was killed because of the blow to the head and not because of the impact with the ground.
Maxwell, who was initially charged with unlawful striking causing death, was given an 18-month suspended sentence in August 2016 for his role in the incident. He had pleaded guilty to affray and common assault.He has been deported to New Zealand following the verdict.
At Renata's sentencing hearing, the judge said he would be eligible to apply for parole only after serving 80% of his sentence.
Renata reportedly apologised to the Millers and Cole's friend Pace at the court. "I can't imagine the pain and trauma I've brought on this family. I would give anything to be able to turn back time," he said. "From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry. We had no right to do what we did."
The judge reportedly termed the attack as "cowardly and violent".
"One moment of cowardly and violent conduct .. has stolen the life of a young man, destroyed his family," a reporter for the Courier Mail quoted the judge as saying at the hearing.