A young apprentice chef also destroyed his own life when he fatally stabbed a stranger in the heart outside a NSW Central Coast pizza shop a little over two years ago, a judge says.
TRAGIC LOSS: Greg Gibbins, of Gwandalan, with his sisters Rhianna and Jenna. Greg loved rugby league and was a talented player.
Bradley James Brooks, 21, was convicted in March of murdering popular local rugby league player Gregory Gibbins, 28, and wounding his friend Adam Swindell with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Toukley in April 2015.
He was given a maximum sentence of 22 years and will spend at least the next 14 years behind bars.
‘‘Not only has Mr Brooks taken away the precious life of Gregory Gibbins, and destroyed the life of a number of other people, he has also destroyed his own life,’’ Justice Peter Hamill said at his sentencing in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.
‘‘At the time of these violent and senseless crimes, Mr Brooks was a 19-year-old man who had never been in trouble with police before.’’
He said Brooks looked like ‘‘a broken man’’ when victims read their statements to the court.
‘‘I realised that the case represents a tragedy from every possible perspective,’’ he said.
Mr Gibbins and two mates were helping a young woman who was being harassed by a group of people when the altercation quickly escalated.
Brooks pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed the Wyong Roos player and Mr Swindell in the chest.
As Mr Gibbins lay dying in a nearby gutter, Mr Swindell was chased around the corner and stabbed twice more.
Justice Hamill said he was not satisfied Brooks intended to kill Mr Gibbins, but he wanted to send a clear message ‘‘that the courts will not tolerate carrying of weapons and that those who do so, especially when they use them to the fatal effect, will be met with severe punishment’’.
Brooks’ youth, good character, the way he conducted himself during the trial and the lack of planning and premeditation when he committed the crimes were taken into consideration in the sentencing.
Justice Hamill imposed two individual sentences with a total of 22 years in jail and a non-parole period of 14-and-a-half years.
‘‘No sentence that I can impose could possibly appear to constitute justice in circumstances where they have to live with their grief, and their loss, for the rest of their lives,’’ Justice Hamill said.
Outside court Mr Gibbins’ father Barry, flanked by other family members, said they were not disappointed with the outcome.
“We came here today with pretty split expectations, obviously he could have got more but I think what the judge handed down was … fair, yes, I suppose,” he said.“When you look at the loss of our son, it’s not fair.
“We could have got a lot less. We’re just walking away with, you know a lot of people say the justice system is not working but I think today has showed, for us, it’s in our favour, on the higher scale.
“When someone is taken from you in the prime of their life, it’s veryheartbreaking and you keep asking yourself why, why, why, and there’sno answer there.”