TWO families’ lives have been torn apart by one stupid, drunken punch.
On Tuesday a jury in the NSW Supreme Court found Michael Ryan, 26, not guilty of manslaughter when he punched and killed St Marys man Connan McLeod in May last year. The case echoes the single-punch killing of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly who died in July when out in Kings Cross.
The violent incident highlights once again a stubborn culture of booze and male aggression that proliferates despite a high-profile community campaign spearheaded by the Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione.
An examination of Mr McLeod’s death also reveals how numerous tiny events built to a deadly punch that shattered several lives.
Mr McLeod was a 30-year-old father of two who had his life support turned off on May 4 last year after being punched by Mr Ryan in the car park of the Windsor KFC three days earlier. Mr Ryan, a plumber from Pitt Town, said he had never been in a fight before.
That drunken night will linger forever for all those involved.
The jury deemed the punch self-defence. But for Mr Ryan and his family and the McLeod family and his fiancee, Jessica Bouwmeester, their lives have been shattered.
Ms Bouwmeester said the court case brought no closure.