James McDonagh's mother calls for 'no further punishment'

James McDonagh Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption James McDonagh died from bleeding and swelling of the brain

A mother has called for a man, who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her son, not to be jailed.

Her son James McDonagh, 28, died following a single punch outside the Elk Bar in Toombebridge in 2016.

Finbar McCoy Jr, from Tamlaghduff Road in Bellaghy, pleaded guilty to causing the death in January of this year.

The 26-year-old is due to be sentenced next Friday at Londonderry Crown Court, which is is sitting in Belfast.

In court on Friday, a prosecution lawyer read out a pre-sentencing statement from Mr McDonagh's mother, who said her heart had been "ripped out".

But she went on to say that she was sorry for the parents of McCoy and asked for him not to be punished further.

Image copyright Mark Jamieson
Image caption Finbar McCoy changed his plea in January

Prior to his plea change, McCoy had always admitted throwing the punch that floored Mr McDonagh, but had maintained he was innocent of causing unlawful death.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr McDonagh, from Castledawson, died from bleeding and swelling of the brain after a punch caused him to fall backwards and his head hit off the pavement, fracturing his skull.

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