’I'm terrified I’ll forget his cheeky smile’
COLE Miller’s heartbroken parents have told how they are struggling to live without him, overwhelmed by grief, as his killer was sentenced to seven years behind bars.
Armstrong Renata wept as his victim’s parents told him of the pain he’d caused when he ended their son’s life in an unprovoked “cowardly” one-punch attack.
Cole Miller died in January, 2016, two days after he was punched from behind by Renata while out in Fortitude Valley.
Cole and his friend had been on their way home when they were confronted by Renata and another man, Daniel Maxwell, who was drunk and attempting to provoke a fight.
The court heard Maxwell had attempted to fight three other people before punching Cole in the chest.
When Cole didn’t fight back, Renata swung a punch from behind, knocking the young water polo star unconscious.
Armstrong is only the second person to be sentenced for the new charge of unlawful striking causing death – an offence with a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Cole’s father Steve cried as he read aloud victim impact statements written by he and his wife.
“I know my children suffer every day because of the loss of their young brother,” he said.
“My greatest concern, which has become a fear, is that my three children won’t be able to lead normal lives.
“The tragic loss of their brother and the anguish they see their mother go through, is a burden they will carry forever.”
He said he had lain awake on many nights listening to his wife “cry and cry and grieve”.
“I know that as a father I have to keep moving forward but want to stop and lie down and let grief and the loss of my son consume me,” Steve said.
“This would be a very easy thing to do. However, I must keep going forward and lead the way for my children.”
In her victim impact statement, Cole’s mother Mary-Leigh, said she struggled to cope, to sleep, and could not be alone.
“I endure the constant pressure from the world around me to move on.
“There is this gut wrenching feeling of becoming totally overwhelmed by emotion, that I will never be able to get up off the bed and function as a normal human again,” she said.
“I cry hysterically, so terrified that I will forget his cheeky smile, the sound of his voice, the shape of his hands and feet
“I am no longer afraid of death, part of me wishing that it would be upon me sooner so that I could be reunited with my son.”
Renata read aloud an apology to the Miller family, saying he owed them a debt that could never be repaid.
“Words can’t begin to describe how deeply sorry I am for what I have done,” he said.
“I can’t imagine the pain and trauma I have caused this family.
“Never in a million years would I have intentionally wished death upon anyone.”
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath has asked for a formal briefing from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions following the sentence.
Renata must serve 80 per cent of the seven-year term before being eligible for parole.
From top, Cole Miller’s father Steve speaks to the media, killer Armstrong Renata and victim Cole Miller.