An Irishman who killed his live-in landlord with “one single punch” has been jailed in the United Kingdom.
Damien Lenihan, 37, of Hillingdon Hill, Uxbridge pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Marek Smalec.
The father-of-one is understood to be originally from Limerick but he has been working in the UK for a number of years as a scaffolder.
Harrow Crown Court heard last Thursday that he returned to the flat he shared with Mr Smalec on July 4 to discover a TV had been removed from his room.
Prosecution lawyer Pavlos Panayi told the court how landlord Mr Smalec had been asking Lenihan to move out of his home in the weeks leading up to his death.
He told the court that Lenihan was “not a man of good character” and “was sometimes quite aggressive”.
The court also heard how Lenihan had been in trouble with the law before for crimes including a caution for battery back in 2015, as well as shoplifting.
Mr Smalec, a dad of two, was found unresponsive by a third resident of the flat, Mr Toleda, on the morning of July 5 – after he heard an altercation between the pair the evening before.
Mr Toleda told police officers that he heard what sounded like a ‘punch’ and ‘a large thud’ at around 10.15pm – but that he was too scared to leave the room.
It wasn’t until the next morning that he discovered his landlord’s body, and called for paramedics who pronounced him dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Smalec had suffered a bleed to the brain and cardiac arrest after sustaining injuries consistent with ‘one single punch’, as MyLondon reports.
After knocking his landlord out, Lenihan did not call the emergency services – instead he fled the scene and went to his girlfriend’s house – where he proceeded to drink a significant amount of vodka, the court heard.
He also removed some of the cameras that his landlord had installed in a panicked attempt to hide evidence of the altercation.
After attempts to evade police, he was arrested at a Travelodge in Telford while he was asleep a few days later, after police discovered he had taken steps to find a new place to live.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Giles Cockings said that Lenihan was genuinely remorseful for his actions, and that he should be entitled to a reduction in his sentence for pleading guilty at an early stage of the legal proceedings.
During sentencing, Judge Rosa Dean told Lenihan: “This is a case where you pleaded guilty to manslaughter this morning (Thursday, November 4) on the basis of an unlawful act.
“You have been in trouble before for a range of offences, you told lies about your location and you gave police the run-around to a very significant degree.”
He was sentenced to six years in prison, but was told he would likely get out after serving half of the sentence.