Ex-Sunderland and Hartlepool United player Paul Robert Conlon was charged with the murder of Harry Conlon, 77, after he died more than three weeks after a disturbance in Sunderland which left the pensioner with head injuries.
A trial was due to start at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday, May 24, but the alternative charge of manslaughter was put to the 43-year-old and accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The case was adjourned until the next day when the Honourable Mrs Justice Lambert was set to sentence Conlon, but the case was moved until today, Thursday, July 15, after it was decided reports were needed to assess his dangerousness and help determine his jail term.
During today’s hearing, John Elvidge QC, prosecuting, detailed how Conlon, a “violent alcoholic” of no fixed abode, launched a sustained attack on his father, also knocking his mother to the floor.
He punched his dad repeatedly in the head, straddling him as he throttled him and used a shoe to strike his father.
The incident was sparked when Mr Conlon said: “I’ve had enough of this” as the couple’s daughter left with her children upon discovering her brother was also at the house, calling police as she left.
Defence barrister Darpinder Singh QC said it had been a “truly tragic incident” and Conlon – who has a series of previous convictions for battery and driving with excess alcohol – had started the rehabilitation process while on remand.
The judge told him he would face a series of additional requirements on his licence once released and said he had caused damage to his previously close unit, adding his father had been described as “gentle, kind” and much loved.
She said he had abused alcohol for the last 17 years, leading to violence, with the court told he would drink up to three bottles of wine a day.
A full report of the hearing will follow
Harry Conlon died in the Royal Victoria Infirmary on Monday, January 18, weeks after the attack.