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The brother of a 32-year-old man who was “left to die alone” after being seriously injured in a fight earlier this year, has told Northampton Crown Court that the killing had destroyed his family.
In his Victim Impact statement, which was read out in court, Mathew Birney said that on April 23, his life changed forever when he received a phone call from a doctor at Northampton General Hospital.
Mathew, who was at Wembley Stadium to watch a boxing match at the time of the call, was told that his older brother Jack was in the High Dependency Unit in a critical state and that he needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
“When I got to the hospital I met my mum, dad, and uncle,” said Mathew. “We went to see my brother - that moment is when it really hit home how serious the situation was, the image of him laying in that bed with the tubes in him, the noise of the life support machine.
“I still hear that machine artificially breathing for him, I see his lifeless face, I smell the room, I relive it every day. My older brother wasn't just my brother he was my best friend, we were inseparable, as children he was my hero.
“I’ve watched my family be destroyed from this. My poor mother is the shell of the woman she was. Me and Jack were my father’s world and to watch him be destroyed by this was utterly heartbreaking.”
On the morning of April 23, Jack Birney had been drinking with a group of people at a house in Cowper Street, Northampton. During a fight outside the address, one of the group - Marc Peter Dowling – assaulted Jack, knocking him unconscious.
However, instead of getting Jack help, Dowling and the others took him back inside and left him on the sofa whilst they continued drinking. It took them more than four hours to call an ambulance.
Jack died from his injuries two days later on April 25, with his family by his side.
Dowling, 26, formerly of Wellington Street, Northampton, was arrested and subsequently charged with the killing, being remanded in custody before pleading guilty to manslaughter at an appearance at Northampton Crown Court earlier this year.
Today (Thursday, December 1) at the same court, Dowling was sentenced to seven years and two months in prison.
In his Victim Impact statement, Mathew continued: “No punishment will ever be enough for me. I do not believe Mr Dowling meant to kill my brother. However, what makes me so angry is how long my brother was left after he was assaulted.
“Mr Dowling stayed in that house for hours while Jack was dying, they continued to drink and did nothing to help him. This haunts me, how alone he was, I wish I could have been there for him. Anyone with morals would have called an ambulance straight away.”
Senior Investigating Officer - Detective Chief Inspector Adam Pendlebury from the Major Crime Team at the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “My deepest condolences continue to be given to the family of Jack Birney who have had him taken from them through the actions of one man.
“Marc Dowling had a choice on the morning of April 23 and he chose to save face and seek retaliation for an earlier incident. His decision that day resulted in Jack Birney losing his life two days later.
“I do not believe Marc Dowling intended to kill Jack Birney but the impact of his decision and actions are having a lasting effect on Jack’s family and those that knew him.
“No sentence given will ever be long enough for Jack’s family, who will live with his absence for the rest of their lives. I want to pass on my sincerest thanks to the family for their engagement and support of the investigation.”