THE FAMILY of a Co. Derry man who died after sustaining blunt force injuries to his head have slammed his killer's lack of remorse.
Former police officer Brian Coulter, 62, was found dead in his Magherafelt flat by his sister on October 18, 2021.
At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, 29-year-old Sebastian Adrian Nowak was sentenced to nine years for manslaughter, having pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing.
He will serve four-and-a-half years in prison, with the remainder to be served on licence.
Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Coulter's family said: "He died tragically and the lack of remorse shown by his attacker at every stage is disgraceful."
Police say it is unclear what exactly happened to Mr Coulter as Novak was uncooperative throughout the investigation.
He answered 'no comment' during 15 interviews with investigators before presenting a prepared statement in which he claimed Mr Coulter had hit him, after which he struck the victim twice in self-defence.
Mr Coulter died between October 13-14 but Novak remained at the deceased's property drinking for several days until he was discovered by Mr Coulter's sister on October 18.
"Brian’s sister called at the Sandy Braes address to visit her brother on October 18, 2021 but made a shocking discovery," said Detective Inspector Jennifer Rea.
"It was a sight no family member should ever have to see. She found the body of her brother lying in his bedroom.
"It is believed that, as a result of Nowak's action, Brian may have been dead in the property for up to five days.
"While she was in Brian's home, his sister located a man in another room who was shouting so she fled the property and called police.
"She had the presence of mind to take a photograph on her phone of this man who ran from the scene.
"This man had been staying at Mr Coulter's property from October 13, 2021.
"Officers arrived within minutes and an extensive search got underway for the suspect aided by this image.
"The man was found a short time later in the Castledawson Road area.
"Nowak was uncooperative. Lashing out and resisting arrest, even providing a false name to police.
"What exactly happened that resulted in Brian's death is known only to Nowak. His death was as a result of an unlawful act committed by Nowak."
'He will never be forgotten'
Paying tribute to Mr Coulter, his family said no sentence was long enough for taking the life of another.
"Brian was a much-loved brother and father. We treasure our memories of him and miss him every day," read a statement.
"Today's sentencing brings us to the end of a long road. We wanted justice for Brian and this has been a very painful time for us.
"He died tragically and the lack of remorse shown by his attacker at every stage is disgraceful. No sentence would ever be long enough for taking another person's life.
"We will remember all the good times with Brian, he will never be forgotten by us."
Nowak was also handed a six-month sentence, which will be served concurrently, for assault on Mr Coulter's sister, assault on police and obstructing police.