The wife of Ponnuthurai Nimalaraja says she forgives the boy who killed him
The wife of a man who died after being punched in the street says she forgives the 15-year-old boy who killed him.
Mathanika Nimalaraja spoke out to pay tribute to her husband, Ponnuthurai, following the sentencing of the teenager who hit him.
Mr Nimalaraja, who was known as Nimal, fell backwards and hit his head after being punched by the youth at the junction of Gipsy Lane and Northfield Road, in Northfields, Leicester, in June last year.
He died in hospital a week later.
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Following a court hearing on Monday which saw the boy sentenced to a three-year detention order, Mrs Nimalaraja said: “I am not angry any more. Before, I was angry because I lost my husband, but I am not angry now.
“The boy is a child and he didn’t mean to kill Nimal – it was an accident.
“He was only 14 years old when this happened – the same age as my son now.
“Whatever sentence he got – three years or four years or five years, it doesn’t matter – my husband is not coming back.”
The teenager, who cannot be named, had denied killing Mr Nimalaraja, 41, but a jury found him guilty of manslaughter following a five-day trial.
Mrs Nimalaraja said although it was difficult hearing the details of the case, she went to court every day.
“I wanted to be there for my husband,” she said.
“It was hard, but I needed to go because Nimal was innocent and I wanted to be there for him.
“It’s hard to explain, but I needed to be there.
“It was difficult to see the boy in court, but I saw he was just a boy. It’s not his fault.”
Mr Nimalaraja lived with his wife and children, Diluxshan and Leyana, in Essex Road, Northfields – near to where he was found in the street.
He and his wife would have celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary on June 25. He died on June 16.
Mrs Nimalaraja said the tragedy had devastated the family.
“It has been very difficult, for my children as well,” she said.
“They remember him all the time, and especially at Christmas and new year.
“They are on a waiting list for bereavement counselling.”
“It has been very hard. Sometimes I feel angry or depressed, but I am okay.
“Nimal was very kind. He always helped me and he always supported his family. He had a lot of friends.”
Hundreds of members of the Tamil community from around the world travelled to attend Mr Nimalaraja’s funeral.
His children led the tributes at the service, describing him as a “super-hero dad” who cared for everyone. Family friend Regi Francis, who paid tribute after the sentencing, said Mrs Nimalaraja had lost “a lovely husband and the children have lost a wonderful dad”.
Both Mrs Nimalaraja and Mr Francis said they wanted to thank the police officers involved in the case for their hard work, as well as members of the Tamil community and Northfields residents for their support following the tragedy.
The teenager has already served six months of his sentence while on remand.
He will serve a minimum of a further 12 months in custody, but after that could be released on probation for the remainder of his sentence.