Robert Wieczorkowski, 33, stabbed Dawid Kurdziel in the neck with a broken bottle after an encounter near a children's recreation ground in Ketley, Telford, on July 3 last year.
He fled the area and went to ground, but after weeks of police investigation he was cornered in Handsworth, Birmingham, and brought into custody to answer his charge of murder.
Wieczorkowski was jailed for life on Thursday and must serve a minimum of 18 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
Family statements were read out in court from Mr Kurdziel’s mother, father and sister who spoke of their devastation.
His mother Monika Kurdziel said: “Our life has collapsed completely” following the death of her son, who always had a big smile on his face and would cheer up the family. “The idea that someone allowed themselves to take his life frightens us,” she added.
The statement was read out by prosecutor Michelle Heeley and translated for Wieczorkowski to hear as he sat in court awaiting his sentencing. Mrs Kurdziel spoke of her hardworking and helpful son’s plans and dreams and added that she did not know how she would continue living without him.
“You took away something most precious, a child,” she said. His sister, Marta, said people looked at her with sadness all the time following the death of her brother.
Trial judge Her Honour Kristina Montgomery was told that Wieczorkowski had been convicted for a string of robberies, involving violence, in Poland, from 2008 to 2011. But apart from a police caution in 2021, he had been clean in the UK.
Sentencing Wieczorkowski, she added that Dawid Kurdziel had been "deeply offended" by his "gratuitously abusive and insulting" behaviour to his friend. He had set out to for a explanation, and had not offered violence.
"You were angered by his challenging your and demanding that you explain yourself and this manifested itself in violence. You lashed out in the most brutal fashion, intending to cause him really serious injury."
"The injury caused Mr Kurdziel's descent into unconsciousness and death within minutes," she said.
She added that Wieczorkowski was a "habitual user of violence" and said the result must be life imprisonment.