The jury spent more than a day deliberating a new charge of manslaughter against Shane Walford after being directed by a judge to find him not guilty of murder earlier this week.
Father-of-two Mr Gibbons – who worked at Canley fire station and was a well-known youth soccer coach – was out celebrating his birthday at Millsy’s bar, in Earlsdon, when he was felled by a single punch thrown by paratrooper Walford. Walford, 33, was yesterday remanded in custody for reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing.
‘Fatal blow that tore lives apart’
FORMER boxer Shane Walford is facing a lengthy jail sentence for killing Coventry fireman Paul Gibbons with one punch. The 33-year-old paratrooper hit Mr Gibbons so hard on the side of his face that it lifted him off his feet and caused him to hit his head on the tiled floor at Millsy’s bar in Earlsdon.
The 41-year-old father-of-two from Coventry, who had been out celebrating his birthday, suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries. He never regained consciousness. Earlier this week, Judge Simon Tonking ordered the jury at Stafford Crown Court to find Walford not guilty of murder.
But jurors yesterday ruled the killing was manslaughter. They took nearly eight hours to reach their verdict of guilty to unlawful killing, by a 10-2 majority. Judge Tonking warned Walford that he must consider the question of whether he was a danger to the public. The court heard that Walford has a string of previous convictions for violence.