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Man killed wealthy banking boss after lethal punch when he wrongly accused him of stealing phone
3 February 2023, 12:07
A man who punched and killed a banking executive as he left The Ivy Club in London's West End has been cleared of murder but faces jail.
Steven Allan, 34, attacked Paul Mason, 52, three times after believing he had stolen a mobile phone which belonged to a friend, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr Mason was knocked unconscious and suffered serious head injuries during the incident on December 15, 2020. The boss at Qatar National Bank died six months later.
Mr Allan, an electrician, admitted to manslaughter but has denied intending to cause serious harm.
Judge Michael Topolski KC granted Allan conditional bail as he adjourned sentencing for a report to be prepared.
He said: "Make no mistake, a substantial term of imprisonment will be the end result in this case."
The judge addressed Mr Mason's tearful widow in court. He said: "You have throughout conducted yourself in a way your husband would be proud of, I am sure.
"The court expresses its sincere condolences to his family and friends, to you madam, and your family and friends. It must have been for you a protracted and painful process, made more painful by how long it has taken."
Prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff KC previously told the court how Mason had helped a female friend into a black taxi after leaving the restaurant.
He walked up towards West Street where he was attacked by Allan. Witnesses described how he tried to grab something from Mr Mason, before punching him with his right fist, knocking Mr Mason onto the floor.
Allan punched Mr Mason a second time as he tried to get back on his feet, delivering a third punch that caused him to fly back and hit his head on the pavement.
Allan then took Mr Mason's mobile phone and told onlookers: "That's my friend's phone. He stole my friend's phone."
Ms Bickerstaff told jurors: "At no stage did Mr Mason offer any violence or aggression towards Mr Allan."
Mr Mason died on the June 4 2021, as a direct consequence of the assault.
Ms Bickerstaff had said: "The defendant had been drinking and his case is that he was acting under the mistaken belief that the victim had stolen his friend's mobile telephone.
"The Crown says there was no realistic basis for this belief, and if it really was his belief then it was a mistake of fact undoubtedly brought about by his level of self-induced intoxication."
Allan will be sentenced for manslaughter at the Old Bailey on March 23.