THE man who killed Brisbane teenager Cole Miller in a shocking unprovoked one-punch attack has been sentenced to seven years in jail, despite the offence carrying a maximum of life behind bars.
New Zealand national Armstrong Renata, 23, pleaded guilty to randomly punching the 18-year-old water polo star in the back of the head in the Fortitude Valley nightclub district on January 3 last year.
The young sportsman suffered massive brain trauma and died the following day after his family made the heartbreaking decision to switch off his life support.
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The Brisbane Supreme Court heard how a friend of Renata’s, Daniel Maxwell, also from New Zealand, tried starting three other fights while walking through the nightclub district before the pair came upon Cole.
“Do you want to see something funny?” Maxwell said before approaching Cole and punching him in the chest.
Renata then stepped in and punched Cole in the back of the head, causing him to collapse to the ground.
The court was told it was the single punch to the head that killed Cole, not the impact with the ground.
There were emotional scenes in court as Cole’s tearful father Steve Miller read aloud victim impact statements written by both he and his wife.
“I could never have imagined that this would become my new normal,” Cole’s mother Mary-Leaigh said. “Bereavement has crippled my life.”
“This nightmare continues. It will never end for me and my family,” Mr Miller said in his statement.
Renata was also given permission to deliver a statement of his own to the court.
The New Zealand national took the time to apologise to Cole’s family and express remorse for his actions.
“Words cannot begin to describe how deeply sorry I am,” he told the court. “I can’t imagine the pain and trauma I have caused this family.”
“I don’t think I could ever forgive myself for what we did. I owe this family a debt that can never be paid for.
“I want to say from the bottom of my heart I am truly sorry. We had no right to do what we did and I’m sorry.
“I would give anything to be able to turn back time.”
In sentencing, Justice Helen Bowskill described the random attack as “cowardly and violent”.
Renata was sentenced to seven years in jail on Friday after pleading guilty to unlawful striking causing death.
He’ll have to serve at least 80 percent of that time before he can apply for parole.
His co-accused, Daniel Maxwell walked free from court on an 18-month suspended sentence in August after pleading guilty to affray and common assault over his role in the attack.
He has since been deported back to New Zealand.