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Ex-Sunderland footballer jailed for beating his father to death on Christmas Eve

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Former Sunderland footballer Paul Conlon has been jailed after he killed his father in a drunken row on Christmas Eve.

Conlon punched his 77-year-old father Harry Conlon several times in the head and face after an argument at the family home in Sunderland last year.

The 43-year-old was staying with his parents and had come downstairs shortly before 3pm in an intoxicated state, which let to an argument with his father.

Conlon then sat on top of his dad, delivering repeated blows.

Police arrived at the address a short time after where they found the 77-year-old in a dazed state with some blood around his ear.

He was taken to hospital with a suspected bleed on the brain while officers arrested Conlon and took him into custody.

His father died three weeks later in hospital as a result of his injuries.

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Conlon was then re-arrested and was due to stand trial for his murder.

However, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the start of his trial at Newcastle Crown Court – a plea which was accepted by prosecutors.

A judge then sentenced him 11 years and 10 months in prison at the same court on Thursday.

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Fairlamb, of Northumbria Police, said: “Every death is always a tragedy but this was an especially sad incident that has ruined many people’s lives.

“Paul’s actions that day, while under the influence of alcohol, have had irreversible consequences and have caused a huge amount of pain and anguish.

“I hope this case acts as a serious reminder to everybody about what can happen when you throw a punch.

“Paul made a choice when turning to violence and sadly that decision has had heart-breaking consequences.

“There is absolutely no place for violence in our communities and we will continue to use all tactics at our disposal to ensure perpetrators are brought before the courts.”