THE mother of a man who died after an unprovoked one-punch attack has slammed his killer’s three-year sentence.
A witness told Preston Crown Court how 16-year-old Lukas Karpavicius drunkenly bragged to his friends after hitting popular former Pendle Council worker David Hutchinson, 63, in June last year.
Mr Hutchinson’s mother, Edith Lowe, said the three-year detention handed out to the Nelson and Colne College student yesterday was ‘a disgrace’.
Speaking outside court, Mrs Lowe, 86, added: “Three years is a joke. He bragged to his mates about it. He meant it.”
Mr Hutchinson, known to friends and colleagues as ‘Scrapyard Dave’, worked as a binman for 18 years before he retired in 2009.
Karpavicius, of Oxford Road, Nelson, attacked Mr Hutchinson from behind as he walked back from a shop at the junction of Leeds Road and Barkerhouse Road, Nelson, on June 15 last year.
Describing the incident, Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, told the court: “He crossed the road to speak to Mr Hutchinson for no apparent reason and was aggressive towards him, and returned laughing, saying proudly: ‘Look what I’ve done’.”
Mr Grout-Smith said Karpavicius then boasted: “It’s the first knockout I have made.”
He also read a statement from Mr Hutchinson’s daughter, Michelle, in which she said: “The circumstances of my dad’s death will stay with me forever.
“The whole family went through a huge amount of emotional stress. I never thought he would be taken away from me in such a horrific way.”
Witnesses rushed to Mr Hutchinson’s aid and he was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital at around 11pm.
Doctors said he suffered a fracture to his right jaw from the punch, and a further fracture to the left side of his skull from when his head hit the pavement.
Having initially been discharged, Mr Hutchinson was flown by air ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital the following morning when his housemate, Jason Salisbury, found him unconscious.
His Honour Judge Anthony Russell QC said the former binman died on July 4 from brain injuries which developed ‘as a direct result of the assault’.
Nicola Gatto, defending, said her client had struggled in his first month at a youth offenders’ institution and asked for the judge to consider a community-based sentence.
She said: “This was an isolated incident which was out of character by a young man who shows clear remorse.
“David Hutchinson’s family should know that in her pre-sentence report, the probation officer said he did express a desire to apologise to the family.”
Karpavicius, who moved from Lithuania to Burnley at the age of eight, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the first attempt at a pre-trial hearing in January.
Giving Karpavicius credit for his early plea and previous good character, Judge Russell said: “I accept that your remorse now is genuine but at the time you displayed bravado at what you had done.
“The least sentence I feel I can properly impose is a sentence of three years’ detention.”
Det Supt Paul Withers, of Lancashire police’s Force Major Investigation Team, said: “This was a tragic case where a completely unprovoked and cowardly assault has sadly cost a man his life.
“By pleading guilty at least Mr Hutchinson’s family have been spared the ordeal of having to go through a trial.”