A former EFL player has been jailed for beating up his own Dad to death, something he admitted to doing when in court in May 2021.
Paul Conlon, who played for Sunderland, Doncaster Rovers and Hartlepool United in a career which ended when he was 20, flew into a rage with 77-year-old Harry on Christmas Eve.
After the pensioner made a harmless comment, Conlon took it personal, so then became enraged and launched a ferocious and sustained attack – punching, throttling and throwing a shoe at him and also knocking his Mum over.
Remember seeing Paul Conlon come through the ranks at Pools – and Peter Reid signed him amid some contract mix up at the Vic before his downward spiral. https://t.co/2JEixDapOD
— Nick Loughlin (@NickLoughIin) May 24, 2021
A court heard Harry, who was 5ft 5 and just over eight stone, was powerless to resist the 43-year-old’s alcoholic’s violence.
Former boxer Harry told police, before his condition deteriorated, that he had never been hit so hard and that he was given “a good hiding” by his son.
The father was left with injuries including bleeding on the brain and died after contracting pneumonia on the 18th of January.
Conlon admitted manslaughter and the original charge of murder was dropped. He has now been jailed for 11 years and 10 months.
Conlon was a former footballer who played for League One club Sunderland back in 1996 in controversial circumstances after breaking into Hartlepool United’s senior side with four goals in 11 matches.
The Black Cats were able to sign the forward for free after reportedly exploiting a loophole in his Pools contract.
In 2004, he was banned from the game for life by Durham FA for striking a referee in a non league game.
1996: Keith Houchen’s side thrashed Leyton Orient in a 4-1 win at Victoria Park.
— On This Day HUFC (@OTDHUFC) February 24, 2021
Newcastle Crown Court heard at Christmas last year how Conlon’s sister, Lyndsey Green, whose pilot husband was working abroad, agreed to go to her parents’ home with her young children.
She had been reassured that Conlon, who she considered “angry, agitated and drunk all the time”, would not be present.
However he had fallen out with his girlfriend and was at staying at his parents’ house in Sunderland.
On Christmas Eve morning, Conlon had gone to the girlfriend’s home with Christmas presents but was refused entry and his gifts were turned away. He got annoyed and when he arrived to his parents’ home he started drinking.
When Lyndsey and her children arrived in the afternoon and she realised he was there, she said she was leaving.
Conlon stumbled downstairs intoxicated as his sister said goodbye to her parents and Harry expressed his exasperation at the situation, saying “I’ve had enough of this”.
John Elvidge QC, prosecuting, said: “That was directed at the defendant and it stung.
“The defendant ran out of the kitchen towards his parents, shouting and swearing and they backed into the living room.
“Lyndsey Green heard her mother say ‘no, no’ in a distressed voice and saw her father put his hands up to protect himself.
“She was unable to see what happened next but she heard a thud and saw her father had fallen to the floor.”
Lyndsey put her crying kids in the car then noticed her mum, Linda, was also on the floor.
Mr Elvidge said: “When she reached the doorway of the living room she was shocked to see her brother sitting astride her father, throttling him.
“He was completely overwhelmed and the defendant had completely lost control.
“She told the police he was ‘like an animal’.”
Lyndsey told him to get off but he continued throttling him.
Mr Elvidge said: “She was frightened to intervene but took hold of a phone and used it to call the police and asked them to attend because she believed he was going to kill her parents.”
The prosecutor added: “There is no doubt Paul Conlon’s parents showed him unwavering love and his mother was very supportive of him but that didn’t prevent him going into a rage.
“He embarked on a sustained attack that went further than Lyndsey Green was able to see.”
Elvidge said: “When his father criticised him he reacted with fury.
“In anger he carried out a deliberate, sustained attack involving repeated blows to the head to an elderly man.”
When police arrived on the scene, Harry had blood in his ear and mouth and said he had been punched several times to the head. He said: “My son’s drunk, he bashed me”.
He added that he had hit his mum too and pushed her to the floor but Linda did not want to make a complaint.
Mr Elvidge said: “Harry said they were not going to press charges but their loyalty had its limits.”
However the pensioner then began to wretch and vomit and an ambulance was called.
Elvidge added: “He remarked he had been a boxer but had never been hit as hard as the defendant hit him.”
Harry, who said he had been punched eight times to the head, was left with bruising to his face, mouth and cheek, cuts to his lip, a tear to his ear and had marks to his head.
RIP H 😪❤ pic.twitter.com/659DusOj0W
— Barry Robson (@barryrobson) January 20, 2021
A CT scan revealed that he had bleeding on the brain and the blood clot expanded, so he had brain surgery but he sadly died on the 18th of January after contracting pneumonia.
The court heard when Conlon was arrested he had blood on his hands and he suddenly lost his temper, struggling with officers and threatening to rape their wives.
Mr Elvidge said: “His demeanour and threatening attitude were reflected by comments he made on the way to the police station asking police if they knew who he was.
“He is a former professional footballer.”
It’s said that he didn’t take being interviewed seriously, telling police his dad was a drug dealer.
The court heard Conlon has previous convictions for assault, affray and domestic violence attacks.
Sentencing him, Mrs Justice Lavender said: “This was an horrific assault and must have been terrifying for those who witnessed it, your mother and sister.
“It must have been appalling for your father who, before he died, referred to you giving him a good hiding.”
The judge said he had deprived those who should have been closest to him of a “gentle and much loved member of the family who will be greatly missed”.
She added: “You will have to live with the knowledge you killed your father and caused unutterable misery to your family.”
Dapinder Singh QC, defending, said it was “truly tragic” and that the family have got on well at times.
He added: “He has been a hard worker and a successful entrepreneur who supported his family and lived a law-abiding life at times.”
The court heard he wrote letters of apology to the court and his family and has never been to prison before this.
Fans reacted as the former EFL player is jailed for beating up his own Dad to death…
@MarkSwaby44: Vile man
@cjssydney: So he’ll be eligible for release in less than 6 yrs? What kind of justice is that for *literally* beating a man to death?! Broken system.
@SiKing00913907: 11 years?? 11 fucking years for repeatedly punching your own father in the face to death??? The justice system in this country in a joke!!!
@RaySwift5: At what point did Manslaughter come into play.. To sit on top of your 77 year old father and repeatedly punch him in the head and face which led to his death is MURDER being drunk is no excuse 11 years is a joke
@brighton_alan: What a piece of shit. He’ll be out in 6 years so I hope somebody guts him inside.
@TommyF_AVFC: Ex-player #PaulConlon jailed for 11+ yrs for manslaughter while intoxicated, killing his father. So why only the 8yrs for the serving Police officer, sober & on duty when he killed #DalianAtkinson, who also lied repeatedly & attempted to cover up his actions? Disgraceful!
@Ed99349075: What a big man punching a 77 year old in the head repeatedly
@KAClarke60: Only 11 years? Deplorable!!
@JamesMarshallUK: ..and he was initially arrested for common assault? I take it that officer has been fired then or retrained. If it resulted in the poor sods death then he would have at least a mark on him wouldn’t he? No 47. No section 18 or 20.