Tuesday, 4 October 2016


LIVERPOOL ECHO Paul Lightowler (left) and Richard Eveleigh were both Liverpool fans and had been friends for 45 years

A man has been jailed for killing his best friend of 45 years with a single punch during a "silly" row.

Paul Lightowler, 60, died nine days after being hit by Richard Eveleigh, 63, after they had watched Liverpool's Europa League final defeat on 18 May.

Mr Lightowler's family had urged the judge at Liverpool Crown Court not to send Eveleigh, who admitted manslaughter, to prison.

However, Judge Clement Goldstone QC sentenced him to 28 months in prison.
'Extremely close'

The court heard the men, who were both Liverpool fans, had watched the match and were walking along Gradwell Street in the city centre when they fell out.

As the disagreement escalated Eveleigh, of Woodlands Drive, Barnston, Wirral, punched his friend, who fell and hit his head.

The court learned the pair were best friends and their families, who sat together for the sentencing, "remain extremely close".

Eveleigh described how he had been treated with "great kindness" by Mr Lightowler's relatives.

The victim's sister wrote a letter to the judge, pleading with him not to jail Eveleigh and said her family consider his death an accident.

Judge Goldstone said the "magnanimity" of the dead man's relations "was something he has never experienced before".

Det Sgt Phil Atkinson of Merseyside Police said: "Eveleigh had been friends with the victim for some 45 years but following an argument he punched Mr Lightowler once to the head.

"Tragically, he hit the ground and suffered injuries which proved fatal.

"This case goes to show that one punch can kill, and people who are intent on violence should think about the very serious consequences of their actions before raising a fist."

Judge Goldstone told Eveleigh he will have to serve half the sentence in custody.

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