David Stead had enjoyed a happy childhood, being brought up on the grounds of an historic abbey, but became addicted to drugs and died aged 32 after being attacked in Autumn Street in the Hyde Park area of the city in May, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Today, 26-year-old Hisan Yaquob was jailed for 12-and-a-half years for his manslaughter, following a two-week trial.
A statement from Mr Stead’s mother, Teresa Aspinall, said she had found the trial horrendous, and in particular had found it “truly heartbreaking” to hear a recording of her son’s 999 call after the attack, in which he told the operator he was dying.
She said: “David had a great childhood and was brought up with me in the grounds of Thornton Abbey in Lincolnshire, where we lived as I worked at that time for English Heritage.
“He wanted for nothing growing up and we spent many holidays together visiting America on several occasions.
“When David became a teenager, sadly he started to experiment with alcohol and then this led to his later dependency on drugs. He was always a kind-hearted and gentle person who never saw the bad in anyone.”
The court heard Mr Stead had borrowed money from Yaquob’s girlfriend’s mother to fund his drugs habit.
The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl, QC, said Yaquob had been looking for Mr Stead “to teach him a lesson for non-payment” and had punched him to the ground.
He said: “Once on the ground, he was defenceless and you either kicked or stamped on him several times.”
The court heard Yaquob, of Beckett’s Park Drive, Headingley, Leeds, had previously been jailed for three years for false imprisonment. Mitigating, Richard Wright, QC, said Yaquob was in a close relationship and had two young children, who would be affected by his incarceration.
After the hearing, Detective Superintendent Chris Gibson of West Yorkshire Police said: “David was a drug user, with all the issues that brings, but he did not deserve to have his life ended in such sudden and violent circumstances at such a relatively young age over money.”