Norfolk dad was punched to death

A man who kicked and punched another man to death after chasing him across Thetford town centre was yesterday jailed for five years.

A man who kicked and punched another man to death after chasing him across Thetford town centre was yesterday jailed for five years.

Brette Conroy, 27, of Ben Culey Drive, Thetford, who already had 17 convictions including violence, admitted the manslaughter of Shawn Liggett after an altercation outside a pub.

Mr Liggett, 31, of York Way, Thetford, suffered a tear to a major blood vessel in his brain as a result of the attack that happened after he was chased across Thetford town centre.

Last night, Becky Gemmell, the mother of two of Mr Liggett's children, described the sentence as an insult to her and Joss, three, and Leon, two.

Speaking after the case she said: "I could not believe it when I heard the sentence. It is just a joke.

"I have still got to explain to my children why they have got to live without their dad.

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"Conroy took somebody's life away and a few years is just not justice.

"People keep committing these crimes because the sentences are

not long enough. I will have to move away from Thetford because I do not want my children seeing him out walking the streets in a couple of years."

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that last September 29, Mr Liggett, described by his fiancée Lorraine Woolsey as a "loving father" who

was "wonderful, kind and generous", had been drinking alone at the

Kings Head public house in White Hart Street where he ended up

four times over the legal drink drive limit and was ejected from the

pub.

Karim Khalil QC, in mitigation, said Conroy, who was enjoying a night out with friends following a car crash, initially sought to comfort the drunken Mr Liggett but there had been an altercation in which Conroy was knocked out.

Mr Liggett was chased by Conroy and others across the town before running into a passing car in Norwich Road.

Conroy walked up to him and punched him, followed by a kick.

Mr Khalil said: "He has expressed remorse towards the deceased's family and the reports show he is horrified at the consequences of what he did."

Sentencing Conroy to five years in jail, Mr Justice David Calvert-Smith said: "He had a family. He had a mother and a step-father and sisters, all of whom suffer terribly for the loss of their loved one."

Conroy had 17 previous convictions including actual bodily harm, threatening behaviour and handling stolen goods.

Speaking after the case, Det Sgt Tom Neil said: "If we had a less violent society on Friday and Saturday nights then there would be less chance of this sort of thing happening again."