A man carried out an unprovoked attack in a pub beer garden causing fatal injuries to his victim with a single punch, Lincoln Crown Court was told on Thursday.
Luke Templeman struck Danny Maguire,34, in the face with such force that Mr Maguire fell hitting his head on the ground.
Mr Maguire, who was standing with his arms by his side and posing no threat to Templeman when he was struck, never regained consciousness and later passed away in hospital.
Templeman, 28, of Launder Terrace, Grantham, admitted a charge of manslaughter as a result of the incident earlier this year at the King’s Arms pub in Westgate, Grantham.
He was jailed for four years and eight months.
Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, told Templeman: “This assault was quite unprovoked. He was wholly defenceless. He was standing with his arms by his side when you punched him.
“I accept that you didn’t intend to cause him really serious harm. There was only one blow but it was forceful.
“It is plain that your remorse is genuine. This is a case where there were terrible and tragic, if unintended, consequences.”
Sarah Knight, prosecuting, said the fatal attack happened on the evening of Friday, February 28 this year when Mr Maguire, a father of one who was from Retford, was drinking at the pub.
Mr Maguire was sitting in the beer garden late in the evening when Templeman, who was out with friends, ended up standing near to him.
There was discussion between the two men and Templeman walked away but then returned and delivered the fatal punch.
Miss Knight said: “The defendant came suddenly at Mr Maguire and punched him once in the face using his right hand to do so. The blow caused Mr Maguire to fall back onto the ground and he remained motionless.”
Afterwards Templeman tried to help Mr Maguire up but was then told by door staff to leave. He finished off his drink then walked out before catching a taxi in Grantham Market Place and leaving the area.
Mr Maguire was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, where he was found to have severe brain injuries. He never recovered consciousness and passed away on March 6.
Miss Knight said that Templeman was arrested at his home in Grantham in the early hours of the morning. He claimed Mr Maguire had been making comments about people in Grantham.
In interviews with police he admitted punching Mr Maguire but said he only intended to “give him a tap”.
Miss Knight told the court: “Initially the defendant said he thought that the victim was faking it. He stated he had never intended to cause any serious injury and was sorry for what he had done.”
She said that Templeman had a number of previous convictions for violence.
Michael Cranmer-Brown, in mitigation, said: “It is perfectly clear that this man is full of remorse for what happened. It was one punch.
“He never anticipated that the like of what occurred to the deceased would happen. He was not looking for trouble.
“He has indicated he takes full responsibility for what happened and said to the police officers that he was sorry.”
Detective Inspector Jon Shield said: “This case tragically demonstrates the devastating consequences one punch can have.
“Every weekend people, often fuelled by excessive quantities of alcohol, feel it is acceptable to get involved in violence. I hope the details of this case will make people think twice about their actions. Even one punch can kill.
“Our sympathies go to the family of Mr Maguire, who I know will never fully recover from their loss.”
A close friend of the victim, Liam Ross, raised £1,377 through a JustGiving page to “help give Danny the send off that both he and his family deserve”.