THE father of a soldier killed by a single punch outside a North-East nightclub has welcomed the Attorney General’s decision to consider referring a similar case to the Court of Appeal.
Andrew Young, 40, died after being struck by Lewis Gill, 20, in Bournemouth, Dorset, on November 6 last year, in a vicious assault caught on CCTV.
Gill later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court to four-and-a-half years in prison - a sentence reportedly branded an absolute joke by Mr Young’s family.
The Attorney General’s Office has confirmed it is considering whether to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient after receiving complaints. Only one complaint is required to trigger the process.
In December 2009, 19-year-old Andrew Gibson, a soldier based at Catterick Garrison, died six days after being punched in Escapades nightclub in Darlington.
Seventeen-year-old John Flannigan was sentenced to just two-and-a-half years in prison for the manslaughter, prompting The Northern Echo to launch its Price of a Punch campaign, demanding tougher penalties for one-punch killers.
Following the conviction, Andrew’s parents, Freddy and Linda Gibson, of Cumbernauld, Glasgow, expressed their shock at the length of the sentence and urged the Attorney General to send the case to the Court of Appeal, which has powers to increase jail terms.
Despite the Attorney General refusing to refer their case, the couple welcomed his consideration on the latest single-punch conviction.
Mr Gibson said: “People have to pay the price for their actions but at the moment that price is too lenient.
“They are getting away with what in my eyes is murder.”
Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, who has supported the Echo campaign since its launch, added that sentencing in single-punch killing cases appeared to be unduly lenient.
“I’m pleased the Attorney General is looking at this. To say you didn’t mean it or you were drunk is no defence.”
The Attorney General has until March 21 to decide whether to refer the Gill sentence to the Court of Appeal.
CCTV images of the assault show Asperger's sufferer Mr Young challenging a cyclist who was riding his bike on the pavement.
After one minute of discussion between the pair, Gill - an acquaintance of the cyclist - arrives at the scene.
The cyclist rides off and Gill appears to turn to follow him - but suddenly lunges towards Mr Young and launches a single vicious punch at his head.
Mr Young immediately falls on to the ground, where he lies motionless.
Gill, of Sutton in south London, glances back at him before callously walking away.
Dorset Police released the CCTV images, which were shown to the sentencing judge.
The incident happened on November 6 last year outside the Tesco Metro store in Charminster Road, Bournemouth.
Mr Young suffered a serious head injury and later died in Southampton Hospital.