Family's fury at killer's sentence

A DISTRAUGHT family has today called for a change in the law after their son's killer was sentenced to three years in prison.Patrick and Theresa O'Connor, were at Norwich Crown Court today to hear the sentence of Dulu Miah who had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of their son, Daniel, at an earlier hearing.

A DISTRAUGHT family has called for a change in the law after their son's killer was sentenced to three years in prison.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, Patrick and Theresa O'Connor, were at Norwich Crown Court to hear the sentence of Dulu Miah who had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of their son, Daniel, at an earlier hearing.

The couple, who sat hand in hand in the public gallery, were visibly stunned when Judge John Devaux handed down a sentence of three years.

In a statement they said: "Our son's life has been destroyed and the law says that serving a few years in prison is retribution enough; it is not. Like many other people who have lost loved ones in this cruel way, we call for a change in the law so that the punishment fits the crime.

"Our son Danny was a hard working loving son with the whole of his adult life ahead of him, he was our youngest son, our diamond boy that brightened our lives.

"He was our rainbow child full of life and love."

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Miah, 23, of Spring Road, Ipswich, showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down.

Daniel died following an incident after a family party in Ipswich. They left Zest nightclub at around 3am and got involved in a row with a group of Asian youths in the Cardinal Park area.

Prosecuting Simon Spence said that the row became physical as well as verbal with both sides "appearing ready and willing to fight".

He said the two 23-year-olds had fought but neither was injured, however Miah followed Daniel and Emma to the corner of Silent Street where another fight broke out.

Mr Spence said: "Miah ran after them and confronted him. He punched him on the chin and Daniel fell backwards, banging the back of his head on the ground and fracturing his skull."

The court heard bruising on the right side of Mr O'Connor's jaw was consistent with a blow from a fist. Daniel, of Shoreditch, London, died ten days after the attack on May 12 from multiple organ failure brought on by the severe head injury. He never regained consciousness.

Mitigating for Miah, barrister Richard Harvey said his client had been provoked by racial taunting. The court heard there had been a verbal altercation in the nightclub earlier in the evening.

Mr Harvey said: "He should have walked away. Influenced by alcohol and humiliation he instead followed Mr O'Connor and the two squared up again. Nobody was more shocked than him at the result."

Mr Harvey said his client showed serious contrition and genuine remorse. He said: "He does understand what it means to have for the rest of his life on his conscience the death of another man.

"He will know every year he gets older is a year he will attain that Danny O'Connor won't. We are dealing here with genuine remorse and Mr Miah understands the enormous impact on the O'Connor family."

The court heard that Miah had 50 character references submitted to Judge Devaux and had written a letter he hoped to be passed onto the O'Connor family.

Mr Harvey said: "He would like permission to visit Daniel's grave in the future. He understands that this is something they (the O'Connor family) may find unacceptable. In this case there is substantial mitigation there was some serious provocation, both physical and racial."

Judge Devaux told the court that Miah had not intended to kill Daniel O'Connor nor cause him serious injury. He said: "In this case it is easy to say 'if only'."

Judge Devaux, sentencing Miah, said: "Dulu Miah, this court has heard described the kind of violent incident that occurs at night, especially at weekends, not only in Ipswich but across the country. Seldom do these fights end with such tragic results. If only you and others had not drunk alcohol probably to excess. If only there had been no earlier incident. If only there was not a culture of young people congregating in the Cardinal Park area. If only you and Daniel O'Connor had gone straight home there would have been no confrontation, no name calling, no racial abuse."

Judge Devaux said Miah would serve half his sentence unless he was released earlier under supervision. He also said there was no justification for what he did.

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