Promising footballer Todd Parnell's mother Jenny Stirling and sister Tara Parnell outside Brisbane Supreme Court after Wally Hunt was convicted of manslaughter.
Promising footballer Todd Parnell's mother Jenny Stirling and sister Tara Parnell outside Brisbane Supreme Court after Wally Hunt was convicted of manslaughter. Rae Wilson

One punch devastation for Bronco Todd Parnell

PROMISING footballer Todd Parnell's shoes still sit at the front door of his Bribie Island home.

His toothbrush is in the bathroom, his clothes in his bedroom and his car in the driveway.

But it is more than four years since the 22-year-old walked out the door with the vegemite sandwich his mother made before his Bribie Island Warrigals home game.

The single, unsighted punch Wally James Hung delivered at a 21st party at the Bongaree clubhouse after the match in July, 2009, means Todd will never return.

Justice John Byrne sentenced Hung in Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday to six years and nine months jail after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter.

"One punch can kill as you well knew at the time," he said, referring to the prominent campaign on the subject at the time.

"When you attacked you were drunk, so was your victim.

"Both of you were at a party at the Bribie Island Rugby League Football Club where alcohol-fuelled violence appears to have been tolerated."

Justice Byrne said Hung punched in retaliation at Mr Parnell hitting his friend, using a closed fist with enough force to rupture a vertical artery and cause an irreparable brain injury.

He said Hung then lied that Mr Parnell raising his hand first, presumably because he was embarrassed about striking "an unsighted, drunken victim without warning".

Justice Byrne said it was difficult to be lenient when Hung hit another person in the head while drunk while on bail for manslaughter.

"The civilised community does not tolerate such sickening, lethal violence," he said.

Mr Parnell's mother Jenny Stirling said the two hysterical phone calls she received that winter night would haunt her always.

She said she spent hours watching her lifeless son's heart beating and feeling his warmth "knowing he was gone forever" - before switching off the life support.

File photo of Todd Parnell.
File photo of Todd Parnell. Sunshine Coast Daily

Ms Stirling knows only too well how precious life is, having lost her first son Adam at 23 months when a car hit him in the street.

"I will never be the person I used to be, I have a life sentence from which I cannot escape," she said.

Mr Parnell's sister Tara told the court every birthday, anniversary, mother's day and father's day were hard for her family.

"Todd will not be by my side at my wedding, he will not be there for the birth of my children and my children will never get to meet the wonderful uncle, nor will they ever know what it was like to grow up with their cousins," she said.

"I will not see Todd achieve the things in life he was destined to achieve."

Ms Stirling said she would never see his beautiful smile or hear his infectious laugh again.

But most of all she misses him saying "I love you" every night before bed.

Tara said the sentence would not bring her brother back but it might stop another family from going through the unimaginable grief hers had experienced.

Hung will be eligible for parole in December, 2015, because of the time he has already served.

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