The family of a 38-year-old man who died after being pole-axed by a punch in a Halifax nightclub are to consider their options after his attacker was jailed for five years and four months today.

A High Court judge told tiler Dale McLean, 25, that he could have been sentenced to eight years in prison over the manslaughter of rugby union player Andrew Feather, but his sentence had to be reduced by a third because he had been given an indication at an earlier hearing that his guilty plea would attract full credit.

After the jail sentence was handed out by the Honourable Mr Justice Globe at Bradford Crown Court this morning Mr Feather's mother Jenni, who was not in court during the proceedings, described her son's death as ''totally senseless''.

''We have been devastated by the violent and totally senseless death of Andrew, there are no words to describe our pain, loss and our grief,'' she said in a statement.

Andrew Feather
Andrew Feather
 

''Our families and friends - and we include all of Andy's friends - have been a wonderful source of strength and support and we wish to thank each one of them wholeheartedly.''

Mrs Feather also thanked the police for their efforts in seeking justice for her son, but she added: ''Despite their best efforts, however, and to our disappointment, justice has not been carried out today.'

'We feel that the seriousness of the crime which Dale McLean has committed has not been reflected in the sentence he will serve. His recorded previous violent history and record of bad character has not fully been taken into account, neither have the shattered lives of Andy's family and partner.

''As a result of today's outcome the family now wish to reflect on their position and to consider the options which may be open to them.''

The court heard today how Mr Feather had been enjoying a night out in February at the Liquid nightclub with Halifax rugby union club colleagues and others when his tie was taken off him by a friend of McLean's.

One witness described how the man, who put the tie round his own neck, appeared to be gloating at Mr Feather as if to say ''come and get it''.

Liquid/Maine Street club at junction of Commercial Street and Fountain Street in Halifax.
Liquid/Maine Street club at junction of Commercial Street and Fountain Street in Halifax.
 

A CCTV recording from inside the club showed Mr Feather trying to get his tie back, but Mr Justice Globe stressed that he was not being aggressive or provocative.

Without warning McLean, who had previous convictions for violence, punched Mr Feather from behind on the left side of his face and the court heard that the blow was so severe it fractured his jaw in two places.

Mr Justice Globe said the blow also caused fatal and extensive haemorrhaging at the base of the brain.

''The immediate effect of the blow was to cause Andrew Feather to fall to the ground and lie there still and motionless,'' said the judge.

''He had been fatally injured by you, by that severe blow in itself.''

After attacking Mr Feather McLean left the club, but following publicity about the fatal early hours incident he eventually handed himself in to police in Huddersfield.

McLean, of Greenwood Avenue, Huddersfield, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge last month and today it emerged that he had previously been jailed for 15 months in June 2011 over an incident of violent disorder when a disturbance at a house party in Huddersfield ended with the death of one of his friends and head injuries to two other people.

The court heard that in 2005 McLean had been reprimanded over a common assault on a man at another party and in February 2011 he was alleged to have been responsible for another assault on the dance floor of a bar.

That latter offence was not prosecuted to a conclusion because McLean was later jailed for the violent disorder.

Mr Justice Globe said he had read 11 victim personal statements in relation to the impact of Mr Feather's death and he noted that about 800 people had attended his funeral last month.

''The victim personal statements emphasise the devastation and overwhelming feelings of bereavement that dominate the lives of those closest to him,'' the judge told a packed public gallery which included Mr Feather's partner Karen and other family members and friends.

''It is apparent from reading those statements that he was a fun-loving, generous, kind-hearted, considerate good man.

''His loss will continue to affect the lives of many forever. These proceedings are sadly incapable of fully addressing that inevitable and extremely sad fact.''

Andy Feather, 38, died after being punched in Liquid nightclub in Halifax
Andy Feather, 38, died after being punched in Liquid nightclub in Halifax
 

The judge stressed that he had to sentence McLean for the offence of manslaughter and his barrister Carl Kingsley submitted that his client had never intended to kill Mr Feather or cause him really serious harm.

Mr Justice Globe said in cases of manslaughter the consequences must be treated as if they were unintentional and unintended notwithstanding the catastrophic result for the person who has died and for the family and loved ones who are left behind to grieve.

The judge described McLean's previous offending as ''worrying'' and said they should have acted as a warning to him to moderate his behaviour.

''Your actions here in relation to Andrew Feather were in blatant disregard to all those warnings,'' the judge told McLean.

The court heard that McLean was given an indication by another judge at an earlier hearing that he would still receive full credit for a guilty plea if it was entered at an adjourned preliminary hearing.

McLean did plead guilty at that stage and Mr Justice Globe said he had to honour the indication that had been given to the defendant.

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