David West Jr, 45, worked for bullying and overbearing David West Sr from the age of 14 and played a pivotal role in the success of the family business.
But by December 12 last year, he had enough and stabbed the 70-year-old alcoholic to death as he was slumped in a stupor at the bottom of the stairs at his home off Jermyn St in London’s Piccadilly.
A jury at the Old Bailey failed to reach a verdict on a murder charge earlier this year and yesterday he pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of loss of control.
Sentencing, the Recorder of London, Nicholas Hilliard QC, said: “It was clear that you suffered verbal abuse and verbal aggression from your father for many years.”
Staff had described him as his father’s “whipping boy” and this treatment amounted to psychological bullying, he said.
However, the judge said that, at the time of his death, West Sr had been particularly vulnerable and the evidence against the defendant was “overwhelming”.
West Jr, dressed in a black suit and tie, gave away no emotion as he was sent down to begin his sentence.
Earlier in mitigation, Orlando Pownall QC said: “There was a toxic relationship between father and son. Although in latter years David West Sr was frail, he had an acerbic tongue that could reduce grown men to tears.”
For 30 years, West Jr had been treated with “severe belittlement and contempt” by his father, the lawyer said.
While the victim’s family might be expected to make statements on the impact of the killing, in this case their grief was more for the defendant than the deceased, he said.
Pownall told the court that West Jr was truly sorry for what he had done, adding: “It was a momentary aberration born of a life experience over many years.”
The court was informed that the victim’s family, including West Jr’s mother and siblings, as well as the tycoon’s business partners had all been against a trial from the start but the Crown had decided it was right to bring the evidence before a jury.
The self-styled ‘Lord David West of Hollesley’ made his fortune from the booze cruise trade in Belgium and France in the 1980s before moving into the West End, buying up lap-dancing clubs, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars.
On the day of the killing, the defendant, who lived in a flat provided by his father above the Abracadabra Bar in Piccadilly, went next door to the victim’s house and stabbed him in the neck and chest.