The family of a 65-year-old, who died after a single punch, described the “excruciating pain” his death had caused them yesterday, as they pleaded to the Royal Court for justice for the “senseless act that ended his life."
The comments came in letters penned by the partner and son of Melvin Murphy ahead of the sentencing of Brian McMahon (51), who was jailed for four years for manslaughter.
The incident that led to Mr Murphy's death took place near the entrance to Springfield car park at around 23:50 in September 2019.
Pictured: McMahon was jailed for four years.
Presenting the case to Court, Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit said that earlier that evening, both men had been to the Robin Hood pub, where they were regulars. McMahon told the police he knew Mr Murphy, but they were not friends, adding there had always been an “atmosphere” between them.
While both men were said to have been in good spirits during the evening, one witness reported hearing McMahon raising his voice at Mr Murphy, before following him into the courtyard where they had an argument, for reasons that remain unknown.
Witnesses said both appeared angry and words were exchanged, but there was no physical fight. At one point, another patron of the pub stood between the pair and encouraged Mr Murphy to go home.
Pictured: McMahon and Mr Murphy were both regulars at Robin Hood.
Meanwhile, the man took McMahon inside the pub and attempted to discourage him from following Mr Murphy. Shortly after, however, McMahon left the pub and caught up with Mr Murphy.
CCTV footage shows Mr Murphy turning around as if answering McMahon, who then struck him to the side of his face with his left hand.
As a result of the blow, Mr Murphy fell backwards on the floor. Immediately after, McMahon left the scene and walked home.
The patron who had tried to stop McMahon from going after Mr Murphy caught up with him just after the incident and asked where Mr Murphy was, to which McMahon replied: “On the floor."
The man then located Mr Murphy, who was still lying on his back and unresponsive, put him in recovery position and called 999.
Pictured: The assault took place near the entrance to Springfield car park.
Mr Murphy started having a heart attack and the fire service had to administer CPR. He was then taken to the hospital and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. He never recovered consciousness and died later that day following multiple organ failure.
Dr Russell Delaney, a Home Office Forensic Pathologist, concluded Mr Murphy had died as a result of head injury, having suffered significant injuries at the back of his head, including skull fractures.
The Crown Advocate said Mr Murphy had not been aggressive towards McMahon and described the case as a “harrowing reminder that death and serious injury can result from any type of violence”.
He then read a statement from Mr Murphy’s long-term partner and his son, following their request that their words be read in court.
The woman said McMahon had taken her best friend away, describing how Mr Murphy’s death had “broken her heart”.
“My life will never be the same again, I miss him terribly,” she said.
Pictured: Letters from Mr Murphy's partner of 17 years and his son were read to the Court.
The woman wrote that even going to the shop was a difficult experience for her as she cannot get used to “not buying what Melvin likes."
“The ironic thing is that if he had survived this he would have forgiven it…that’s the kind of man he was,” she wrote.
Concluding her letter, the woman said that Mr Murphy’s death had affected his son and grandchildren and left a big hole in their lives.
“…The heartache and pain of missing him will never ever go away,” she added, before describing the “excruciating pain of missing someone you spent 17 years of your life with”.
In his letter, Mr Murphy’s son said it was almost impossible to put in words the “devastating effect” the death of his father, whom he described as his best friend, has had on his family and himself.
He said he struggled to understand how “someone would go out of their way to follow someone 15 years their senior."
“He was my whole world,” Mr Murphy’s son wrote. “He has been taken away from this world not for old age as I would have thought, but from a reckless act.”
Pictured: Mr Murphy's son urged the court to give his dad justice for “the senseless act that ended his life”.
Describing his dad as a true gentleman, who was kind and taught him to have manners and be respectful to others, Mr Murphy’s son urged the court to give his dad justice for “the senseless act that ended his life”.
Defending, Advocate James Bell said McMahon was “acutely aware” of the effect of his actions on Mr Murphy’s family and had offered to engage in the restorative justice scheme.
He rejected the view that McMahon had showed no concern for Mr Murphy’s welfare, saying McMahon didn’t realise the severity of the situation when he walked away.
The lawyer told the Court McMahon had used the psychological services available in prison to address the sadness and stress he’s felt since the incident, adding that he had lost hair as a result of the stress.
Pictured: The Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, heard the case with Jurats Anthony Olsen, Charles Blampied and Kim Averty.
The Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, who was sitting with Jurats Anthony Olsen, Charles Blampied and Kim Averty, agreed with the conclusions of the Crown and imposed a four-year prison sentence.
He noted the poignant letters from Mr Murphy’s family, which he said “reflected fully the devastation felt”.
The Bailiff described McMahon’s actions has deliberate and premeditated, rejecting the view that the incident had taken place in the “heat of the moment”.
He concluded the hearing by issuing a reminder that anyone who punches someone in the face takes the risk of causing serious injury or death.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Christina Maclennan, Head of the Police's Serious Crime Unit, said: “This was a tragic case of a violent assault which resulted in Mr Murphy dying from his injuries.
"Our thoughts are with Mr Murphy’s family, who have been supported throughout the investigation by specially trained Family Liaison Officers.”
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