“We are not designed to bury our children” – heartbroken mother addresses the man who killed her son at court sentencing
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The mother of 24-year-old Bradley Matcham, who was killed in a one-punch manslaughter earlier this year, took to the stand today, Monday, September 9, as his killer was sentenced to four years in prison.
Arthur Billings, 19, of Harpole, pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court in July to punching Bradley next to an alleyway in The Drapery, Northampton, in the early hours of Saturday, February 9, following a heated exchange of words.
In the moment he was punched, Bradley’s hands were in his pockets and his head was turned away, giving him no opportunity to defend himself. At no point did he provoke the punch or threaten Billings in any way.
Bradley, who had never met Billings before, fell to the floor unconscious and was taken to hospital where he died nine days later on Monday, February 18.
Today, Billings was sentenced to four years in prison for manslaughter.
In a statement bravely read to the court by Bradley’s mother, the true impact that his death has had on his loved ones, was clear.
“Anyone that had the good fortune of meeting Bradley described him as kind-hearted, dependable, intuitive and inspiring,” said Mrs Matcham.
“He was 24-years-old, he’d just got a promotion at work, he had his own home and supported himself entirely. He had so much to live for.
“When a mother gives birth she has an instinctive need to protect her child and that doesn’t change as they get older.
“We are not designed to bury our children and we are not prepared for how to deal with it. In those nine days after he was punched, I watched my son fade away. My heart was ripped out when he died and it is a pain that will haunt me for the rest of my life. All I have left are visits to the cemetery.”
Addressing Billings directly, she said: “When you wake up tomorrow morning to a new day, I would like you to reflect on one thing – all of Bradley’s tomorrows have ended.”
In his sentencing remarks, His Honour Judge Mayo commented on how “Bradley was a truly exceptional young man.” Addressing Billings he said: “You have destroyed the lives of not just Bradley, but of his family, friends and loved ones as well.”
DC Spencer Bailey from Northamptonshire Police’s Major Crime Team, said: “This case is an exceptionally tragic one – at the young age of 24, Bradley had his whole life ahead of him and on the night he was killed, he was simply trying to enjoy a night out to celebrate his recent promotion.
“The court today was packed with the family and friends of Bradley whose lives have been completely torn apart as a result of his death and I truly hope this case demonstrates the devastating and catastrophic consequences that one punch can have.”