A MAN who admitted killing someone he argued with at a party has been sentenced to life imprisonment – after a history of prison sentences for violent behaviour. Labourer Brian Blackman, 22, from The Whaddons, Huntingdon, pleaded guilty at Cambridge Crown

Michael Austin

A MAN who admitted killing someone he argued with at a party has been sentenced to life imprisonment - after a history of prison sentences for violent behaviour.

Labourer Brian Blackman, 22, from The Whaddons, Huntingdon, pleaded guilty at Cambridge Crown Court to killing Michael Austin, 20.

Mr Austin, a manager at McDonalds in Huntingdon, suffered severe head and face injuries after being punched, kicked and bludgeoned with a bottle.

He was found by a milkman in the early hours of Sunday, September 25 in Lingmoor, a quiet cul-de-sac in Stukeley Meadows.

The court heard that other party-goers had abandoned the dying man instead of calling for an ambulance. He was left to choke on his own blood.

Both men had been pupils at St Peter's School in Huntingdon but are not believed to have met before the party. They both drank heavily at the get-together for about 30 people, organised by one of Mr Austin's work colleagues while their parents were away. Blackman had arrived as "a friend of a friend".

The court heard that Blackman, a heavy drinker, had been in trouble for burglary and violence since he was 15. Having received prison sentences of two years and 18 months, he was jailed for another year while being out on licence in 2004. In 2005, he had been out on licence for six months and had three weeks to go before the end of that sentence when he killed Michael Austin.

Det Chief Inspector, George Barr, who led the murder investigation, said: "It seemed Michael had upset Blackman somehow. Nothing particular happened and we know Michael was a pleasant amenable and friendly but clearly Blackman disliked him."

The court heard that Blackman began attacking Mr Austin inside the house, after they had both been drinking. Mr Austin hid in a bathroom and tried to apologise but when they met up again outside the party, Blackman began his attack by smashing a wine bottle over Mr Austin's head.

After the sentence, Michael's mother, Carol Austin, said: ""Nothing can take away the pain and devastation of losing my only child."

She said: "Michael was a much loved son, who worked hard, lived life to the full and who had many friends.

"I miss him so much, as do my family and friends. As one of Michael's friends said, he was always there to talk to, and always there to listen.

"Michael was a caring, sensitive, gentle person. I am so proud to have had him as a son. He didn't deserve what happened to him. "No prison sentence, however long or short can account for his loss.