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23 December 2014, 10:44
A violent bully who killed a father of four with a single punch in a ''gratuitous, unprovoked'' street attack has had his sentence reduced from two years to one.
Mark Haley suffered a serious head injury and spent two years in a coma after being floored in the attack by labourer Michael Broom in August 2011.
Broom, 50, was originally sentenced to three years in prison after admitting causing grievous bodily harm. After Mr Haley's death last year, Broom further pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced at the Old Bailey to two more years behind bars.
This was changed to a year by judge Richard Hone QC, sitting at the Old Bailey, who said he had "reconsidered" the sentence he passed yesterday.
He told Broom: "If you had been charged with manslaughter in 2011 from a starting point of six years you have been sentenced to four years after giving full credit to your plea of guilty.
"As you have already been sentenced to three years for the grievous bodily harm, I am on reflection persuaded that should be taken in to account.
"In those circumstances, I vary the sentence of two years imprisonment to one of 12 months imprisonment.
"I remain of the view that in light of the aggravating features, it is not right to suspend that sentence."
Broom was told he will spend six months in custody and then be released on licence.
Broom, who was known as the local drunk, picked on Mr Haley near a Tesco store in Hook Way, Chessington, Surrey, on August 21 2011 at around 6pm.
Mr Haley had brushed past Broom who was perched on the back of a BMX bicycle being ridden on the pavement by a 14-year-old boy.
Broom responded by taking his shirt off and punching Mr Haley in the face, causing him to hit his head against a pole before falling to the ground.
The incident was witnessed by several members of the public and was also caught on CCTV, the court heard.
The former BT engineer, who lived locally, was airlifted to hospital.
In August last year, the 53-year-old suffered an associated chest infection and died almost exactly two years after the attack.
In a statement read to the court, the victim's son Jimmy Haley described the ''gut-wrenching'' sight of his father at the scene and later in his hospital bed unable to do anything other than squeeze his hand.
He said his father was his ''rock'' and ''role model'' who taught him the importance of responsibility, hard work, manners and morals.
Mr Haley's widow Joanna wrote that she was ''heartbroken'' to see her ''bright, intelligent, quick-witted'' husband reduced to a vegetative state.
The court heard that Broom, of Rhodrons Avenue, Chessington, had 16 convictions, many of them related to his violent and aggressive behaviour while drunk.
Defending, Khalid Missouri told the court: ''It is fully recognised this is an appalling, terrible tragedy and the defendant accepts and is remorseful for that tragedy.''
Outlining the aggravating factors, the judge said: ''First, this was a gratuitous, unprovoked assault. Secondly, it took place in the street with a 14-year-old and numerous other eyewitnesses present at an ugly scene. Thirdly, the removal of your shirt indicated a determination for significant violence.
''One witness described you as 'the local drunk' and many of your convictions resulted from your alcohol addiction. You can reasonably be described as a violent bully and that categorised your behaviour that Sunday afternoon.''