Nine-year jail term for fatal argument over noise
AN Ipswich mum has broken down in court as she described the grief and heartbreak she suffered after the death of her son.
Leeroy Johnson was stabbed to death in Redbank by a neighbour after a confrontation about noise coming from Mr Johnson's home.
His mother spoke in Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday as her son's killer, Shaun Patrick Flanagan, was sentenced to nine years for manslaughter.
Sobbing as she spoke, she told the court: "I feel his life was taken from me. Leeroy was my son, my friend and my baby.
"My heart is broken and I feel like it will never mend."
The court heard Flanagan confronted Mr Johnson, a friend who lived below him in Mine St, around midnight on February 8, 2011, in their front yard because Mr Johnson and his partner were being noisy.
Flanagan said he was sick of Mr Johnson's loud arguments and yelled at him to move out, the court heard.
Flanagan threatened to drive into Mr Johnson's lounge room before getting into his car and driving in and out of Mr Johnson's front entrance multiple times.
Flanagan and Mr Johnson then got in a struggle and Flanagan, armed with a small kitchen knife he grabbed from his car, stabbed Mr Johnson.
Crown Prosecutor Danny Boyle said Flanagan stabbed Mr Johnson in the chest, penetrating his heart.
Mr Johnson suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital.
Mr Johnson's mother took to the rare step of reading out a statement in the Supreme Court as other family members sobbed in the gallery.
She said there was nothing the "law of the land" could say or do to justify what happened to her son.
Justice Jean Dalton agreed.
"I think there is a lot of truth in that," she said.
"I think however a child dies, its very difficult for a parent to ever come to terms with it."
Justice Dalton said whatever the law was for sentencing, it was separate to the loss and grief a family experienced.
Barrister for Flanagan, James Godbolt, said the 35-year-old had not intended to harm Mr Johnson or kill him.
Mr Godbolt said Flanagan took action to help Mr Johnson after he was stabbed, stayed at the scene and fronted police when they arrived.
"His remorse is genuine and is supported by his actions on the night and his plea," he argued.
The court heard Flanagan had a wife and children and had been a model prisoner while in jail.
Justice Dalton sentenced Flanagan to nine years in jail.