Man jailed after killing best friend with single punch in ‘silly row’

Paul Lightowler was killed by Richard Eveleigh in Liverpool

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A man who killed his best friend with one punch after a “silly row”, has been jailed.

Richard Eveleigh, 63, hit Paul Lightowler, 60, in the street after the pair had seen Liverpool’s defeat in the Europa League cup final in May.

Mr Lightowler fell backwards, hitting his head and died of his injuries nine days later.

The pair had been friends for 45 years and despite Mr Lightowler’s death, the men’s families remain “exceptionally close”, the court heard.

Mr Lightowler’s family urged the Judge at Liverpool Crown court not to send Mr Eveleigh to prison. 

But Mr Eveleigh pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 28 months in prison, the Liverpool Echo reports. 

The court heard the pair were returning from the football match with various members of their family. 

On the way back, a “rather silly” row developed which “fizzled on”.

Mr Eveleigh then hit Mr Lightowler who fell over and suffered fatal injuries. 

Sentencing, Judge Clement Goldstone told Mr Eveleigh: “You were friends over 45 years, while it is a grievous loss, it is a loss for which you bear full responsibility, because you killed him with a single punch.”

Summing up, he added: “I am asked not to send you to prison today because to send you to prison today will add to the sense of grief and loss felt by Mr Lightowler’s family. 

“May I say the magnanimity of Mr Lightowler’s family is of an intensity I have not witnessed before in 14 years as a practitioner.”

Judge Goldstone said Mr Eveleigh will serve approximately half the sentence.

The two families issued a joint statement outside the court saying the judgement was an “additional burden” to their grief.

It said: “This case is a tragedy for both families. Richard and Paul were the closest of friends for 45 years. Our families were and remain very close. After an argument at the end of a football match Richard struck out at Paul after a disagreement with tragic consequences. Had Paul not passed away we are sure that both men would have got over it and would have been laughing and joking about it a week later.

“As a result of a Paul’s untimely death both families have lost a much loved uncle and friend. The court’s decision to imprison Richard has meant that, for the time being, our families have lost a father, grandfather and friend. We understand that the judge had to do his duty and follow the decisions of the higher court, however the loss of Richard has added an additional burden to the grief and loss of Paul which we all shared.”