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Man jailed for killing his 90-year-old father

Man jailed for killing his 90-year-old father

by Tom Martin (September 2019)

A MAN from Netherton who “flipped” and killed his 90-year-old father was jailed for three years four months.

Michael Burns punched his frail father, William Burns, blows to the face and ribs with clenched fists after a row over money at their home.

Burns, who suffers from autism, later apologised and helped his mum look after his dad. A doctor called out the next day when his wife became concerned about his breathing prescribed codeine.

But two days later concerned neighbours alerted the police who found him slumped on the floor. He was taken to hospital where it was found he had two broken ribs, as well as facial fractures, and had developing pneumonia.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that despite antibiotics Mr Burns died in Aintree Hospital on April 6 this year - 13 days after the assault.

Jailing the 21-year-old defendant Judge Andrew Menary, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, said that he accepted, “You now deeply regret what you have done and will have to live with the consequences of what you have done for the rest of your life.”

But he said that despite being on the autism spectrum he must have appreciated that he should not have repeatedly punched his elderly dad in the face and had intended or been reckless whether harm was caused and consequently only an immediate prison sentence was justified.

The court heard on Friday, September 6 that tempers flared on March 24 when his parents returned from church and asked Burns for £10. He responded by saying he was sick of lending them money and said he was saving up for the birth of his child.

The pensioner was standing inside his home near the front door when his son began punching him and he slumped to the floor.

Anya Horwood, prosecuting, said in a statement taken after police became involved that the victim, described as a disciplinarian, told how his son had assaulted him on three previous occasions though not as seriously.

When interviewed later Burns described his relationship with his parents as “brilliant” and told how his dad would often calm down his wife, who is bi-polar. He said he had “flipped” after his father threatened to kill him and went to grab him.

In an impact statement Mrs Burns told of her emotional devastation at losing her husband and said she did not want her son, who is now the father of a two-month-old baby, jailed and did not blame him for her husand’s death.

Lloyd Morgan, defending, said Burns, who has no previous convictions, “maybe regarded as an aggressive and heartless man but wicked he is not” and he is “racked with guilt, shame and horror.”

Burns, who lived with his parents in Fatherside Drive, Netherton, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

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