A man has been jailed for drunkenly attacking and killing a respected international banker after he left The Ivy Club in London’s West End.
‘Kind and gentle’ Paul Mason, 52, a boss at Qatar National Bank, was set upon in the street near the exclusive private members’ club in Soho, on the evening of December 15 2020.
Electrician Steven Allan, who had been out drinking with a colleague, punched Mr Mason three times in the mistaken belief that he had stolen a mobile phone belonging to his friend.
The incident took just 12 seconds and was captured on CCTV viewed by jurors in Allan’s trial.
The Old Bailey had heard that Mr Mason did not react with any violence or aggression and had attempted to ‘turn the other cheek’ and walk away when approached by Allan.
When Allan delivered an upper cut, the wealthy banker flew back and landed on his back with his head hitting the pavement.
Prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff KC said the defendant was ‘aggressive and seemed to want to continue fighting’ even as Mr Mason lay ‘gravely injured’.
According to one witness, Allan had shouted: ‘Where’s your fight now, show me your fight now.’
Mr Mason had suffered serious head injuries from which he died six months later.
Allan, 35, from Hook in Hampshire, had admitted the manslaughter and was cleared of the more serious offence of murder after a trial.
On Thursday, Mr Mason’s family blamed Allan for a double tragedy as they told how his vulnerable brother took an overdose three months after Paul’s death.
Reading her victim impact statement in court, Mr Mason’s sister Rachel Mason said: ‘You, Steven Allan, violently attacked and killed my brother and have left me heartbroken and devastated.
‘A feeling of melancholy will continue for the rest of my life as I have to live without Paul.’
Addressing the dock, she said: ‘Can you imagine how frightening that was for him when he woke up and how hard it was for us not to be with him when he needed us.
‘We ultimately watched Paul die as the brain damage you caused took his life and the life support was withdrawn.’
Mr Mason, who was made a freeman of the City of London for charitable works, was a ‘remarkably kind, decent, gentle soul’ who was successful in all aspects of his life, she said.
On the death of her other sibling, she said: ‘My other brother Simon, a vulnerable adult, could not cope with the killing of his little brother.
‘He was consumed by trauma and grief and took an overdose three months after Paul died. You have left me with no brothers at all.’
Holding up her brother’s mobile, she told Allan: ‘This is Paul’s phone – you killed him for this.’
Mr Mason’s elderly parents Ian and Linda Mason, who attended court by video link, also blamed Allan for the death of both their sons.
His father said in a statement read in court: ‘He is responsible for taking the lives of two people. I hope a vile thug will be taken off the streets so he cannot ruin the lives of another family the way he has ruined ours.’
In mitigation, William Boyce KC said the defendant’s ‘remorse’ for what happened had affected every aspect of his life.
Jailing Allan to three years and nine months, Judge Michael Topolski KC acknowledged the defendant’s admission his actions were born from ‘unsupportable nonsense’.
He went on to highly commend the off-duty critical care nurses who witnessed the attack on Mr Mason and went to his aid before emergency services arrived.
A spokesperson for Paul Mason’s family, said: ‘We are immensely disappointed that the jury did not all see the intent to cause serious harm that most people who saw the CCTV concluded.
‘We really hoped he would get a life sentence, but we must try to accept the jury’s decision. At least he will be imprisoned for killing Paul and we can start to move forward a little.’
The family thanked the nurses that came to Paul’s aid, paramedics involved, the critical care team at St Mary’s and the wider ‘wonderful’ NHS.’
They also issued thanks to the Met Police and Crown Prosecution Service.
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