Michael McLoughlin, 36, twice punched England fan Duncan Browne, 23, at a taxi rank during an argument over a cab. A court heard the victim, who was an aspiring firefighter, suffered a broken jaw and a vertebral artery injury, which caused a bleed on the brain and cardiac arrest.
John Browne, the grandfather of Duncan Browne, described the attack as “unprovoked” and “cowardly”.
His statement read at Liverpool Crown Court today said: “This unprovoked cowardly attack has robbed a kind, respectful, compassionate and dynamic young man who was born three weeks premature and had a fight to cling onto life of a lifetime of fulfilment and achieving his dream of serving the community as a member of the fire brigade.”
The attack happened in the early hours of Sunday July 4 after Mr Browne had gone out to watch England play in Euro 2020 on TV in Liverpool city centre. The victim suffered the consequences of “a hard and catastrophic injury punch” inflicted by McLoughlin and died later at Aintree Hospital.
McLoughlin, and another man involved in the altercation 34-year-old Terrence Kerwin, were originally set to stand trial this week for Mr Browne’s alleged murder.
However, before Christmas, the CPS dropped murder charges against the pair, and also a charge of manslaughter against Kerwin.
That was after dad-of-one McLoughlin pleaded guilty to manslaughter and Kerwin admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.
Sentencing McLoughlin today, judge David Aubrey, QC, said: “You, McLoughlin, had killed your victim in the street. You then got into what you perceived, I have no doubt, as your taxi.
“You, McLoughlin, delivered a heavy blow to the deceased’s head. You followed it quickly by another.
“You appear then to have gone to a party, no concern, no thought whatsoever at that time, to the man who now lay motionless in the street.
“This was a wholly unprovoked and gratuitous assault in the city centre upon a man who had not been abusive, he had not been confrontational and I am satisfied he had not offered any threat of violence whatsoever.”
Kerwin, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 10 months in jail as he initially hit Mr Browne.
The yobs left the defendant, a big Everton fan, lifeless on the street after the punches.
McLoughlin, from Old Swan, Liverpool, has 16 previous convictions for 31 offences including driving matters, dishonesty, burglary and robbery.
He was on licence at the time for a 32 month sentence for conspiracy to steal.
Kerwin has 20 previous convictions for 44 offences, including driving matters and possessing and dealing drugs.
But the defendants apologised through their lawyers in court today.
Nigel Power, QC, defending McLoughlin, quoted a letter from his client. In which, McLoughlin said: “I appear today knowing that my actions have caused an irreversible loss to many people and for that I am truly sorry.
“I understand my words cannot change the pain I’ve caused and I appreciate any apology doesn’t alter the past but I believe it’s important for me to do so.
“My sole intention in writing this letter for you all today is just for the opportunity to express to you all how deeply sorry I am for my actions that night, that I never wanted a lifetime of heartbreak and grief for you all.
“I’m truly sorry from the bottom of my heart.”
Nick Johnson, QC, defending Kerwin, said the man has no previous convictions for violence.