THE family of traveller Johnny Delaney have spoken of their anguish after seeing his killers jailed.
They hit out after 16-year-olds Lewis McVeigh and Ricky Kearney both received four-and-a-half years.
The defendants, from Ellesmere Port, can finally be publicly named after a ruling by the judge at their sentencing hearing on Friday.
They had both been convicted of manslaughter by a jury last month. They were both cleared of murder, which they had denied.
On Friday, the pair were smuggled out the back of Chester Crown Court under a blanket to start their sentences at a young offender's institute.
Speaking outside court, Johnny's father Patrick Delaney said: 'They kicked my son to death. I couldn't bury him for six months, and I've been to hell and back, I can assure you of that.'
Johnny died on May 28 this year after being attacked on a playing field in Lydden Road, Ellesmere Port. The 15-year-old, from Liverpool, had been in town visiting friends.
The judge, Mr Justice Richards, said the defendants had been crossing the field, sending text messages at the time. They met Johnny and his friends.
He added: 'Verbal aggression came from Johnny's group and it was them which first used violence. One of Johnny's friends swung at them with a plank. Johnny swung at McVeigh.
'Johnny's group then ran but Johnny tripped and fell to the ground. The defendants kicked him as he lay there, unable to defend himself, and he was rendered unconscious.' The judge said that, as part of the attack, McVeigh kicked Johnny to the head and stamped on his head, while Kearney kicked him in the face. He said Kearney played a 'secondary' role in this.
He told them: 'It isn't possible to say which of the blows inflicted by you caused the fatal brain damage.'
Mr Justice Richards also ruled out a racial motive for the attack, describing as 'unreliable' the evidence of one witness who claimed to have heard a racist remark made to Johnny.
He added that, as he was unsure who made a further racial comment at the end of the attack, neither defendant could be sentenced for any racist actions.
McVeigh has previous convictions from 2002 for possessing Ecstasy and having an air weapon in public, getting reparation orders for both.
Defending him, David Turner QC said: 'My client accepts he was responsible for causing the death of Johnny. But there was a lack of intent to cause him serious harm. These were impulsive actions. There was no racial element to the confrontation.'
Michael Scholes QC, for Kearney, said the incident was spontaneous and hadn't been pre-planned.
He added: 'When Kearney heard Johnny was dead, he said he felt sickened. He wants to apologise, possibly in a letter, to the Delaney family.'
Mr Justice Richards said: 'Johnny's death is a terrible thing for his family and the wider travelling community.'
He said he was lifting the Press reporting restrictions on the grounds of public interest and to act as a deterrent to others.