Man killed best friend with 'one punch' in 'silly' row
A man has been jailed for killing his best friend of 45 years with a single punch in a "silly" row.
Paul Lightowler, 60, died nine days after being hit by Richard Eveleigh, 63, after they 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.
The court heard the two Liverpool fans had watched the match at Liverpool Echo Arena together and were walking along Gradwell Street in the city centre when they fell out.
The Crown Prosecution Service said CCTV showed Eveleigh of Woodlands Drive, Barnston, Wirral, punch his friend, who fell and cracked the back of his head on the road, knocking him unconscious. He never regained consciousness.
Eveleigh told police he was "mortified" when he realised what he had done as he had not meant to hurt him.
The court heard 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 Clare Bowe wrote a letter to the judge, pleading with him not to jail Eveleigh and said her family considers his death an accident.
Judge Goldstone said the "magnanimity" of her family "was something he has never experienced before".
He said Eveleigh was "no doubt devastated" but added "whilst it's a grievous loss - it's a loss for which you bear entire responsibility".
He told Eveleigh he will have to serve half the sentence in custody.