Former Sunderland footballer Paul Conlon, who has been jailed for more than a decade at Newcastle Crown Court (Image: North News and Pictures)

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Former Sunderland footballer Paul Conlon has been jailed for nearly 12 years after killing his 77-year-old father.

Conlon, 43, was ‘like an animal’ when he attacked his dad in a Christmas Eve attack last year.

Conlon, who also played professionally for Hartlepool United, punched, throttled and hit Harry Conlon with a shoe during the deadly attack, which took place on Deansfield Close, Sunderland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the elderly former boxer, who died roughly two weeks after the attack, told police immediately afterwards he had “never been hit so hard”.

Conlon, who also has a series of convictions for violence against women, made rape threats against police officers' wives after being taken to the police station and asked 'if they knew who he was’.

The incident occurred at the home of Mr Conlon, who was just 5ft 5ins and weighed eight stone, where he lived with his wife Linda.

Conlon will spend almost 12 years behind bars
(Image: North News and Pictures)

The court heard that the couple's daughter, Lyndsey Green, had arrived at the house to visit for Christmas with her two children, on the understanding that her brother, who she didn’t want to be around, would not be at the house. She understood he would be spending the festive season with his girlfriend.

However Conlon, an alcoholic who was drinking up to three bottles of wine per day, had been issued a restraining order to keep away from his girlfriend and was therefore at his parents’ home.

Because of his presence, Mrs Green left, to which his father said “I’ve had enough of this.”

The court heard that Conlon “came stumbling downstairs, obviously intoxicated” and attacked the pensioner.

Prosecutor John Elvidge QC told the court: “Harry Conlon was later to tell the police he had been given ''a good hiding'' and he had ''never been hit so hard’.”

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The court heard Mrs Green, who had been putting her children in the car, had heard a ‘thud’ and duly saw her mother and father on the floor; she subsequently contacted the police believing her brother “was going to kill her parents.”

Mr Conlon told police who arrived at the scene that he had been punched 'several times to the head'. He was filmed on an officer's body camera saying “my son's drunk, he bashed me.”

He was taken to hospital by ambulance and had emergency neurological surgery but died from pneumonia on January 18.

Conlon struggled with the police and had to be restrained.

Mrs Justice Lambert sentenced Conlon, who admitted manslaughter, to 11 years and ten months behind bars and said he poses a 'high risk of harm to the public'.

She told him: “On Christmas Eve 2020 you attacked your father causing him to suffer a very serious head injury from which he died on January 18.

“Your violent assault upon your father Harry Conlon was triggered by a comment which he made, expressing his frustration with your behaviour as you stumbled downstairs in an abusive drunken state.

“This was a horrific assault. It must have been shocking and terrifying for those who witnessed it, your mother and sister.”

Justice Lambert added: “You will have to live with the fact you killed your father and caused misery to your family for the rest of your life.”

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