Ex-Sunderland AFC and Hartlepool United player Paul Conlon to await court fate over killing of his father

A judge has said she will need to assess the dangerousness of a former footballer before she can sentence him for the killing of his father – but warned him he faces a “substantial custodial sentence.”

By Fiona Thompson
Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:17 pm

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 at the family home in Deansfield Close, Doxford Park, Sunderland, which left the pensioner with head injuries.

The Honourable Mrs Justice Lambert returned today, having been given a witness impact statement and details by prosecutor John Elvidge QC and defence barrister Darpinder Singh QC, to help her determine the jail term Conlon, of no fixed abode, will serve.

Paul Conlon has been sentenced for the manslaughter of his father Harry following an assault at the family home in Deansfield Close in Doxford Park on Christmas Eve.

That led her to decide further reports are now needed to consider his dangerousness, with the court told Conlon’s offending was linked with alcohol abuse, with the case adjourned until Thursday, July 15.

The judge told Conlon: “I ask the Probation Service to prepare a report about you and hope you will provide them with a full conversation in order that I can understand something about your background and circumstances that will help me going forward.

"You should be under no illusion, this is going to be a sentence of a substantial custodial sentence, whatever that information is, I hope you understand that.”

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The hearing was told during the incident, Conlon pushed both his parents to the floor and repeatedly punched his father, tried to throttle him and kicked him while wearing shoes.

Mr Conlon escaped to a neighbour’s home, while the ambulance crew reported he suffered injuries including bruising, cuts to his face and a cut to his ear lobe.

The victim’s wife and defendant’s mother was in court for today’s hearing.

The judge told her: “Mrs Conlon, I’m sorry you had to come to court, no doubt it is very stressful for you,” going on to note the hearing had been set to be the close of proceedings.

He was later charged with murder after his dad, who died in hospital on Monday, January 18.

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