A MAN who attacked and killed his friend during a drunken argument has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
John Foster admitted the manslaughter of Wigan factory worker Kieran Large, following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
The 30-year-old, from Richmond Drive, Leigh, had denied murder, but just before he was due to stand trial earlier this week he changed his plea to guilty to the alternative lesser charge which was accepted by prosecutors.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that around 12.55pm on September 19 last year, police were called to Richmond Drive by a friend of Mr Large, who lived in a nearby flat.
The caller had heard the victim’s dog barking and found the door to his flat ajar. He found Mr Large dead on the sofa.
Later that day, Foster turned up at the flat, and, when told of Kieran’s death, Foster cradled his head in his hands and told officers the previous week he had assaulted Kieran and “took it too far.”
A post-mortem examination revealed Kieran, 25, who worked at Ince’s Hitchens Food factory, died of system sepsis, pneumonia, abdominal wall infection and multiple rib fractures. Foster was arrested and charged.
Police were told that on September 8, Kieran, Foster and three friends were at another flat on Richmond Drive and had been drinking. An argument broke out, which resulted in Foster attacking Kieran.
He punched him in the ribs and head several times, leaving him with a bleeding nose, swollen lip and cuts and scratches.
Foster left the flat briefly, to return moments later with a bread knife from his own home. Kieran grabbed a coffee table to use as a shield. Foster threw the knife down and the two fought.
This time Foster hit Kieran on the head, which caused him to fall backwards, knocking over the TV and smashing the glass TV stand as he fell to the floor. He then kicked the victim twice in the ribs and punched him in the face.
Over the next few days, a friend of Kieran visited him in his flat and noticed the swelling to his face. Kieran said he had been sick and had been coughing and spluttering.
Defence barrister Ben Nolan said provocation formed a large part of the mitigation.
And he added: “After this ugly incident the deceased came to see the defendant and apologised and they literally hugged and kissed and made up.”
Jailing Foster, Mr Justice McCombe said: “This is another of those very sad cases in which friends fall out.”
He said Kieran had goaded Foster and there were two separate incidents in which punches were exchanged and Foster got the better of him.
The judge added: “The injuries in the normal course of events would not have been expected to lead to death. Death was contributed by the failure of Mr Large to seek appropriate medical assistance.”