John Howdle and daughter Brianna.
John Howdle and daughter Brianna.

Dad robbed of milestones after fatal fight with neighbour

THE daughter of a man who died during a fight with his neighbour says her "gentle” and "fun-loving” dad will miss out on sharing milestones such as walking her down the aisle.

John Howdle's only child, Brianna Pidgeon-Howdle, wiped away tears as she spoke about their "unbreakable bond” and the devastating impact of her father's death ahead of his killer being sentenced to seven years jail.

"My dad did not have the opportunity to say his goodbyes and his life was taken away from him so suddenly,” the Biloela woman said.

Brent Anthony Seymour, 43, was originally charged with murder when Mr Howdle died from severe brain injuries the day after the altercation that erupted over a set of keys at the Enoggera unit block on September 20, 2015.

On Friday he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter after prosecutors accepted he did not intend to cause the 50-year-old's death.

With almost two years already served in custody, Seymour will be eligible for parole in January 2018.

Brisbane Supreme Court was told the argument between neighbours escalated from trading insults to throwing punches and pot plants.

Mr Howdle then plunged head first to the concrete ground below after Seymour grabbed him forcefully from the top of a staircase.

Brent Anthony Seymour has been sentenced to seven years jail for manslaughter.
Brent Anthony Seymour has been sentenced to seven years jail for manslaughter.

An emotional Ms Pidgeon-Howdle said her world had been turned upside down after losing her mother to cancer then dealing with her father's death at the age of 18, meaning he would never get the chance to share in future milestones.

The 20-year-old said she would continue to live life to the fullest and forever cherish moments spent with her dad.

"This has broken me but I am not defeated,” she said.

A victim impact statement from Mr Howdle's mother said they had been "as close as a mother and son could be” and Seymour's actions had created a void that could never be filled.

Seymour had a lengthy criminal history, including an assault on a man with a tree branch after a consensual sexual encounter, and had breached suspended sentences in the past.

From the dock, he apologised to the victim's family, saying not a day had passed in custody when he didn't have a "heavy heart”.

"He was the only person in that unit block who made me feel welcome,” Seymour said.

Defence barrister Robert East said his client regretted his actions in the heat of the moment and had been upset about one of the insults made about his grandmother.

Mr East said his client had co-operated with the investigation and shown concern for Mr Howdle, running to his aid and calling for help, later telling police "I hope he doesn't die”.

Brianna Pidgeon-Howdle speaks outside court after her father's killer was sentenced on Friday.
Brianna Pidgeon-Howdle speaks outside court after her father's killer was sentenced on Friday. NewsRegional

Dressed in khaki pants and an untucked blue collared shirt, Seymour stood with his hands clasped behind his back as Justice David Boddice noted the effect of his "fateful” decision almost two years ago on the victim's daughter and mother.

"The impact is particularly devastating for both because he was the only person they had,” Justice Boddice said.

Outside court, Ms Pidgeon-Howdle said no jail sentence was long enough and nothing would bring her father back.

"I hope he thinks about it every morning and every night,” she said.

- NewsRegional


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