Belfast Telegraph

Mother's agony as former youth boxing champ who killed her son with punch is jailed

By Staff Reporter

A grieving mother whose son was killed in a one-punch attack has said a large piece of her heart has been taken.

Yesterday a former youth boxing champion was jailed for 18 months for killing Darren McBrearty.

Christopher McLean, from Main Street, Gortin, Co Tyrone, had previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Darren McBrearty outside a bar in Omagh in August 2013.

Witnesses described how Mr McBrearty fell backwards "like a plank" after being punched once by McLean. They said as his victim fell, McLean clenched his fists and yelled "boom".

Mr McBrearty hit the back of his head on the ground, fracturing his skull and causing a brain injury that was to prove fatal. The 28-year-old, who was from the Gortmore Park area of Omagh, died in hospital two days later.

A tearful Kathleen McBrearty described the difficulty of the days since her son died. She told UTV: "A large piece of my heart has been taken and the fact is it was one punch, one punch took his life."

She believes the sentence for her son's attacker is too lenient. "I've had to live without Darren for 17 months and how would his parents feel if the shoe was on the other foot? It's hard knowing your youngest child is never coming back."

McLean was struck by the bar's doorman before running away from the scene, but was arrested later that night.

A defence lawyer said McLean, who was a national boxing champion as a youth, had displayed remorse and accepted responsibility for his wrongdoing.

However, McLean still maintained that there was an element of self-defence to his actions.

"He felt he was going to be hit so he hit first," said the defence lawyer, adding that his client had used his left, non-dominant hand to hit Mr McBrearty.

Jailing him, the judge said it was clear that Mr McBrearty's parents and siblings would never recover from their loss.

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