Father's killer still violent

Matthew Larson
Matthew Larson
More than seven years after the one-punch manslaughter of a Dunedin man, his family has been forced to relive the trauma.

Matthew Bryce Larson (now 30) was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for killing 51-year-old Steve Radnoty in a central Dunedin McDonald's in 2011.

He served two years before being granted early release but the Parole Board raised concerns about the man reverting to alcohol abuse.

Two years later, those fears were realised and the Radnoty family's wounds were ripped open anew.

Larson came before the Christchurch District Court last week following another violent alcohol-fuelled incident.

Steve Radnoty
Steve Radnoty
Fairfax reported he had been in Rockpool bar on August 8, 2015 when he argued with a man over a spilled drink.

Larson challenged him to fight but the man declined.

Later, when the victim left the bar, a third party pulled him out of a taxi and Larson kicked him in the face, breaking his nose.

The defendant was adamant he was not the culprit, despite being found guilty at trial,
it was reported.

He was jailed for two years and 10 months for injuring with intent to injure.

Kristen Speak
Kristen Speak
Mr Radnoty's daughter, Kristin Speak, told the Otago Daily Times news of the recent sentencing had stunned her and brought the pain of loss surging back.

''I couldn't believe that he would do something so similar, and still not take responsibility for what he did,'' she said.

''It brought up a lot of anger, emotional tears ... because he didn't learn,'' Ms Speak said.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Ms Speak left Dunedin because she could not cope with the constant reminders of her loss.

She ended up raising her two sons in Christchurch, only to then discover Larson had settled in the city too.

Ms Speak recalled bumping into him at the gym.

''I didn't quite react the way I thought I would,'' she said.

''I thought I'd be angry and tell him what I thought.

''Instead, I turned into the little girl when my father passed and bawled my eyes out for a week.''

Larson killed her father as the two men were embarking on new directions in their lives.

Mr Radnoty and his partner, Carol, were about to move to Roxburgh in March, 2011 when the incident occurred, and Larson had become a father just hours beforehand.

Only weeks before, the defendant was released on parole, Mrs Radnoty died.

Ms Speak had been hopeful fatherhood might turn Larson's life around when he got out of prison but she was now sceptical that Larson was capable of change.

She turned her attention to her own children who had grown up having never met their grandfather.

''They see pictures of him all around the house and say 'Who's that old man?' I talk to them about him a lot,'' Ms Speak said.

Next month will mark seven and a-half years since Mr Radnoty's death.

Ms Speak said the pain never went away but she was learning to deal with it.

Hearing of Larson's latest violent outburst took her right back to the hospital as her dad lay motionless.

''It's like I was back sitting next to my father turning off his life support. I won't ever forget it.''

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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