19 Dec 2008

Baseball bat killer gets four and a half years

8:18 pm on 19 December 2008

A woman who hit her sister's former partner with a baseball bat, causing spleen damage that led to his death, has been jailed for four and a half years.

Kathleen O'Sullivan, 44, was sentenced in the High Court in Wellington where she had earlier pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of James Brown in October last year.

The court heard that O'Sullivan's sister had had a turbulent relationship with Mr Brown and O'Sullivan visited him to tell him to stop telephoning her.

A confrontation ensued and O'Sullivan hit him at least twice with the baseball bat, damaging his spleen.

Mr Brown's spleen became enlarged as a result of liver problems and he died in hospital several days later.

O'Sullivan's lawyer said she had not intended to kill him and ordinarily such blows would not have resulted in death.

Mr Brown's twin brother, John, brought his ashes to court on Friday, and outside court denounced the sentence as too light. However, family members have to try to put the incident behind them and move on, he said.