Coventry & Warwickshire

Boxer Shane Walford jailed for Coventry fireman's death

Paul Gibbons
Image caption Paul Gibbons died from brain injuries after a single punch on the dance floor

A former boxer has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for killing a West Midlands fireman.

Shane Walford, 33, of St Athan Barracks, Vale of Glamorgan, pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Paul Gibbons but was convicted in May.

Mr Gibbons, 41, from Coventry, was punched by Walford during a night out in the city in October 2009 and later died in hospital from brain injuries.

Walford, a former paratrooper, was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court.

He told the court he had been acting in self-defence when he punched Mr Gibbons.

Afghanistan service

In passing sentence Judge Simon Tonking told him: "You had recently been serving in the army, and having served in Afghanistan it should not be ignored that you were somebody who was necessarily alert to the possibility of attack.

"Whilst you may have genuinely believed, albeit entirely wrongly, that you needed to defend yourself from Mr Gibbons, the amount of force which you used was out of proportion to the threat that you believed Mr Gibbons posed."

Mr Gibbons had been celebrating his birthday and approached Walford on the dance floor at Millsy's bar in Earlsdon Street on 25 October when he was lifted off his feet by a punch.

Walford handed himself in to police when Mr Gibbons, a father-of-two, died the next day in hospital of brain injuries.

The court was told he had previous convictions for for breaking a man's jaw and assaulting a police officer.

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