AN ex-soldier and boxer who bullied and physically abused his alcoholic flatmate before killing him with a single punch was jailed for two years yesterday.

David Dowden, 35, died in hospital from slow bleeding to the brain 18 days after his skull was fractured by Richard Coyle, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Ex-Royal Welch Fusilier Coyle, 39, of Beech Avenue, Penllwyn, Blackwood, pleaded guilty yesterday to the manslaughter of Mr Dowden, also known by his nickname 'Popeye'.

The prosecution accepted his guilty plea after he had denied murder.

Outside the court Mr Dowden's brother, Lyndon Gregg, 41, said: "I don't think a lot of British justice anymore because people can get eight months for pinching cars.

"The sentence of two years just doesn't seem right. He didn't deserve to have an ending like that."

The court heard Mr Dowden's death from severe head injuries was exacerbated by a blood-clotting disorder he was suffering from.

His skull was fractured after his head hit a wall.

Nicholas Cooke, QC, said the prosecution could only speculate but "accomplished" former welterweight boxer Coyle may have hit Mr Dowden over an argument about the untidiness of their flat.

Coyle, who also had an alcohol problem, moved into Mr Dowden's flat in Fleur de Lys Avenue, Pontllanfraith, a few weeks before he attacked him on August 23, 2005.

Mr Cooke said one witness, Carl Edwards, said: "Popeye would constantly complain that Coyle would hit him and take his money from him."

On the day of Mr Dowden's death, Mr Edwards said: "Popeye was crying and physically upset. He said that Coyle kept beating him up."

Mr Cooke said after Mr Dowden was taken to hospital following the August 23 attack, Coyle left the flat and told friend Shane George: "I've hit someone out...I think I killed him."

The court heard that when police arrested him the next day at Mr George's home in Bargoed, Coyle asked an officer: "How is he, is he dead?"

When the officer told him Mr Dowden was still alive, Coyle said: "Oh well, I will have to do a couple of years for this one."

Coyle served a tour of duty in Northern Ireland during his two years in the army.

The court heard his military career was brought to an abrupt end after his convictions in 1989 for two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a fight at an engagement party.

Coyle's barrister, John Charles Rees, QC, said: "This was a single punch manslaughter - there was no follow-up, no use of the boot and no weapon."

The court heard of Coyle's "frustration" at living with an alcoholic.