’I'm ter­ri­fied I’ll for­get his cheeky smile’

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - KATE KYRIACOU

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.

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