A man who accidentally killed a stranger with one punch has turned his life around after meeting the parents of his victim.
In 2011, the then 19-year-old Jacob Dunne threw a punch at a man he didn't know and fled the scene, his friends then got in touch with him to say that the police had been asking them questions and his name had been given.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Dunne said police called and asked him to hand himself in for questioning, but when he arrived he was arrested on suspicion of murder and learned that the man he had hit, 28-year-old trainee paramedic James Hodgkinson, died after nine days in a coma.
Dunne was jailed for manslaughter and sentenced to 30 months in jail due to mitigating factors including his lack of weapon and no criminal record.
Years later, Dunne has been able to get his life back on track due in no small part because of Hodgkinson's parents David and Joan, and has written a book about about the punch that changed his life.
They had contacted Dunne and managed to meet with him in an attempt to understand why their son had been killed and why the man who threw the punch only ended up serving 14 months in jail for it.
He met them two and a half years after they first wrote to him, and Dunne says they have since kept in touch and seen the changes he has made as part of his rehabilitation.
Dunne has explained how being permanently excluded from school shaped who he became.
He told The Guardian: "I felt a failure because I had failed in school, but I masked that with the bravado of being a lad’s lad.
"As I became more exposed to people who were hard, I became harder. It was all about being tough; earning respect through intimidation."
He also spoke of the difficult position he is now in as he has rebuilt his life with advice from David and Joan, while they will always grieve for their son.
Dunne said Joan told him that 'forgiveness has come' for her after initially thinking she wouldn't be able to, and David said that while he respected him for turning his life around he can't find forgiveness for his son's death.
When asked what he would like to say to his younger self, Dunne said he would want to give him a hug because 'he didn’t have a clue what was going on' and 'didn’t have the tools to try to navigate any of that stuff'.
Featured Image Credit: ITV
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