Man jailed for fatal punch on ‘completely innocent’ grandfather

Man jailed for fatal punch on ‘completely innocent’ grandfather

A convicted shop-raider has been jailed for 10 years for the manslaughter of a pub attack victim who died after suffering complications linked to a heart condition.

Courtney Flannigan, 22, left Paul Smith with a fractured cheekbone and bleeding on the brain after knocking him down with a single punch in an unprovoked assault.

Birmingham Crown Court was told Mr Smith, a 49-year-old father and grandfather, died in hospital two months later, after his injuries forced doctors to change his heart medication.

The court heard Flannigan had attacked two other victims, leaving one unconscious, at the Edge of Town pub in Northampton on July 10 last year before targeting the "completely innocent" Mr Smith.

At the time of the attack, Mr Smith, who died on September 4, was waiting to learn whether a heart transplant was a viable option.

The court heard Flannigan was on bail after using a bottle to wound another man outside a shop in Northampton a year earlier, leaving the victim with a fractured cheekbone and eye socket.

It also emerged that Flannigan was given a 30-month sentence in 2013 for a robbery in which his accomplice threatened a shopkeeper with a machete.

Passing sentence on Flannigan, who admitted manslaughter and wounding, Judge Patrick Thomas QC said he was satisfied an extended licence period was necessary to protect the public from further harm.

Flannigan, of Pleydell Gardens, Northampton, was told he must serve at least two-thirds of his 10-year jail sentence and will be subject to an extended three-year licence after the custodial sentence expires.

The judge told Flannigan: "You were in such a state of rage that you threw a terrible punch at Paul Smith.

"It was a punch in the context of a continuing disorder in which you were the main aggressor and it was a punch to a completely innocent and defenceless man, not expecting for a moment what you did.

"I have come to the conclusion that your behaviour, no doubt in drink, on three separate occasions - extreme violence without any sensible reason whatsoever - is the plainest possible indication that you are a danger."

Detective Inspector Mark Hopkinson, from Northamptonshire Police CID, said: "I am pleased with the outcome of the case today and welcome the sentence handed down.

"This was a tragic and extremely complex case. Mr Smith had a serious pre-existing heart condition which he had been managing well for more than 10 years. On the night of the assault he was out enjoying a drink with his father.

"Our detailed and lengthy investigation involved a hugely complex medical inquiry which ultimately established a clinical causal link between the assault and his death.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Smith's family for their support and understanding during the investigation and I hope today's sentencing helps to bring some comfort and closure for them."

More on this topic

Man due in court in connection with assault and robbery in CorkMan due in court in connection with assault and robbery in Cork

Meath man, 21, accused of assaulting and robbing transgender escort told gardai he was attacked first with stilettoMeath man, 21, accused of assaulting and robbing transgender escort told gardai he was attacked first with stiletto

Judge orders release of 'exploited' cannabis grow house worker who court hears will now seek asylumJudge orders release of 'exploited' cannabis grow house worker who court hears will now seek asylum

In significant ruling court says barring order must be shown to have been 'produced' to breach accusedIn significant ruling court says barring order must be shown to have been 'produced' to breach accused

More in this Section

Louisiana sues California over alligator banLouisiana sues California over alligator ban

John McDonnell to quit frontline politics following Labour defeatJohn McDonnell to quit frontline politics following Labour defeat

Former Sudan leader al-Bashir jailed for two years over corruptionFormer Sudan leader al-Bashir jailed for two years over corruption

Jeremy Corbyn’s sons pay tribute to their ‘honest’ and ‘humble’ fatherJeremy Corbyn’s sons pay tribute to their ‘honest’ and ‘humble’ father


Lifestyle

Want to be cultured this Christmas? From TV to podcasts to books, Ed Power has the definite list of everything you missed this year - so you can curl up on the couch and catch upThe definite list of everything you missed this year

Artist Ciara Rodgers teaches older people how to rediscover their creativity and regain confidence, says Rowena WalshBrush with art: Discovering your creative side in later life

Furniture, paintings, jewellery and silver are on offer at James Adam in Dublin, writes Des O’SullivanAll set for home run: See what's on offer at the James Adam sale in Dublin

It’s not too late to hunt out a unique gift. Des O’Sullivan previews sales in the lead-up to the festive seasonA flurry of auctions in Munster sets the scene for Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner