Northern Ireland

Mother's anguish at Darren McBrearty one-punch death

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Media captionDarren's mother Kathleen, speaking to BBC News NI's Julian Fowler, said she found the sentencing hard to come to terms with

The mother of a man killed by a single punch in County Tyrone has said his death is "a heartache that's never going to go away".

Darren McBrearty, 28, died after being attacked outside a bar in Omagh in August 2013.

Christopher McLean, of Main Street, Gortin, was jailed last month for 18 months for manslaughter.

Darren's mother Kathleen said: "Think before you hit anybody, because the consequences are there for eternity."

"Life is so cruel - all I plead with the young ones to never lift your hand to anybody, because I don't want another mother to go through that pain," she said.

Mrs McBrearty said Darren was popular and "a caring son".

"He was the sort of fella who would go out and enjoy himself - he had good friends and mixed well with everybody, but when he left that morning it was the last time I would see him," she said.

Witnesses in McLean's trial described how Mr McBrearty fell backwards "like a plank" after being punched once.

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Image caption Darren McBrearty died in hospital two days after he was attacked in Omagh town centre

He hit the back of his head on the ground, fracturing his skull and causing a brain injury that was to prove fatal.

A defence lawyer described the event as "a tragedy for all concerned" that would have a "marked impact" on the remainder of his client's life.

Mrs McBrearty said the difficulty coming to terms with his death was made worse by the length of time that it took for McLean, a former youth boxing champion, to admit manslaughter.

"It was very hard - it took him almost 17 months to admit it," she said.

"It's scandalous that in the legal system you kill somebody and all you get is 18 months. It's so hard knowing that someone takes your son's life and all they get is 18 months."

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Image caption Christopher McLean admitted killing Darren McBrearty with a single punch

Mrs McBrearty said her niece, who is a nurse, had persuaded her to donate Darren's organs and that gave her some comfort.

"Darren saved five people and that gave me the greatest hope - even though I'll have no more Christmases with him, those people have a chance to live," she said.

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