The family of a man who died hours after being punched several times in the head have paid tribute to him after his killer was jailed.
Jamie North, 33, of Glen Drive, Oakham, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison at Leicester Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Neil Corby, 42, of Gaol Street, Oakham.
The court heard Mr Corby, who had alcohol problems and suffered from a heart condition, died in his home on September 19 last year, hours after North had punched him several times in the head.
After yesterday’s hearing Mr Corby’s brother Barry Jalland, of Melton Mowbray, said: “I don’t think I can put the loss into words. We have many happy memories of him. Neil has left a huge gap in our lives.
“We are numb with grief.”
Mr Corby’s sister Louise Mumford, of Oakham, said: “The whole family are extremely disappointed and shocked at the sentence.”
Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, told the court North and another man had been invited into Mr Corby’s house for a drink between 9pm and 10pm that day.
The court heard North got into an argument with Mr Corby over a previous incident when he had insulted North’s girlfriend.
North, who was drunk and had been smoking cannabis, also brought up an incident when he and Mr Corby were both at school.
He then punched Mr Corby several times in the head, breaking his nose and causing cuts to his eyebrow and lip.
Mr Joyce said a witness had told police that after each blow Mr Corby said: “That’s enough. You’ve come what you came to do, please stop.”
After landing the final blow, North then said: “I’ve come to do what I wanted to do, it’s sorted now.”
Mr Corby was found dead on the floor of his living room at about 7.30am the following morning.
Philip Shears QC, defending, told the court North had expressed immediate regret once he was told of Mr Corby’s death.
Mr Shears said North had pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the earliest opportunity and was taking steps to deal with his own alcohol problems, which had arisen when he became depressed after losing his job.
Mr Shears said North could not have known about Mr Corby’s heart problem, which was identified along with brain trauma by a pathologist as a factor in his death.
North was initially charged with murder before the prosecution accepted a manslaughter plea. He also received a four-month sentence after admitting common assault on another person on the same night. The sentence will run concurrently.
Passing sentence,Judge Michael Pert QC referred to North’s previous convictions for violent offences. He said: “You don’t have the benefit of a good character.”
Judge Pert said North had attacked Mr Corby based on previous grievances while he was “full of drink”.
He added: “These were a number of blows of moderate force delivered by you over a period of time as a deliberate punishment.”
Adam Barker, 34, of Willoughby Gardens, Oakham, had been jointly charged with Mr Corby’s murder but the charge against him was dropped.