Blackpool thug who murdered vulnerable Garstang dad-of-three is jailed for life
A man punched and stamped on his neighbour in the street, leading to his death days later from head injuries.
Andrew Claydon, 45, of Lytham Road, Blackpool, is starting a life sentence with a minimum term of 14 years before he is eligible for parole, after Judge Simon Medland QC told him: "The effect of those few seconds of conduct by you are catastrophic - catastrophic for his family and his loved ones."
Matthew Pearson, 42, died on August 2 following an assault in Lytham Road, close to the junction with Bournemouth Road, Blackpool, at around 6.45pm on July 18, 2020.
A post mortem examination later found Mr Pearson, who lived in a flat on the same road, died from blunt trauma head injuries.
Claydon, of Lytham Road, Blackpool, had denied a murder charge but was convicted following a trial at Preston Crown Court, which was told Claydon's trainers had Matthew Pearson's blood on them.
CCTV footage from around the area was recovered which identified Claydon was responsible for the assault, showing he was on Lytham Road with others when Matthew Pearson came out of his home and crossed the road to speak to him about a "minor argument", which neither had been directly involved in.
But Claydon was seen, with no apparent provocation, to punch Matthew Pearson to the ground - probably causing his head to hit the kerb.
It is likely he was already unconscious when Claydon violently stamped on the side of his head, and lay unconscious for more than two minutes before slowly picking himself up and staggering back to his flat, around 40 yards away.
But damage to his skull and brain had already been done, and despite receiving medical attention and specialist care at Royal Preston Hospital doctors were unable to save him.
Matthew's sister, Claire Pearson, read a harrowing statement in person to the court, describing how she and Matthew had been adopted at birth by their loving parents, who were desperate for a family, and said: "The son they loved so much and so desperately wanted has been taken from them in the most painful way."
She said she and Matthew shared a "very close bond and had done our whole lives" and that they met twice a week for lunch and she would make sure he had what he needed.
She added: " I was never happier than when we spent time together."
She revealed on the night he was attacked, she tried to convince him to get into the ambulance and he had tried to convince her he was fine.
She said: " This was typical of Matthew as he never liked to worry me."
The court heard her last words to him were: "Me and you against the world. I love you bro".
The next morning, instead of receiving a call from Matthew wishing her a happy 40th birthday, she received a knock on the door that changed their lives forever.
She added: " Each of our lives has been left in pieces without him. We will never be the same about him.
"We are truly broken without him."
Ms Pearson also told the court their mum, who suffers MS, had deteriorate rapidly since his death.
She added: " I'm woken by nightmares in which I'm trying to save my brother but I can never quite reach him in time."
The court heard Mr Pearson did not live with his three children but loved them all deeply and was involved in all their lives. He had passed on his huge love of books and history to his daughter.
Prosecuting, Gordon Cole QC read a victim personal statement from Matthew's wife Amy Pearson in which she said: " I feel so angry and upset that Andrew has taken my husband away. "Matthew was my best friend, my life and I feel so lost and alone without him. I will never be the same again. Some nights I hardly sleep.
"All I see is Andrew's face - the man that took my husband away.
"When I see Andrew in court he looks like he's not bothered at all by what he's done."
She revealed she had needed counselling and sleeping tablets, and had to move away from their flat as she couldn't bring herself to go back to the area where he got attacked.
Defending, David Temkin said Claydon had been taken through their statements and "wished to express as much sympathy and understanding as he can to Matthew's family".
Judge Medland QC described the attack as "deliberate, brutal and violent " and said wherever the stamp was aimed it was "aimed with the requisite intent".
Sentencing, he added: " On July 18 you were wither directly or coming off, or subject to, the effect of drugs or alcohol. It was a feature of your life at that time.
"Almost out of nowhere within a matter of seconds it developed into your use of gross physical violence against Matthew Pearson.
"The jury and I saw in a matter of a few seconds you had grabbed his clothing, thrown him forcefully into the gutter and stamped on him.
"Wherever you did stamp it was to the prone body of a man who represented absolutely no risk to you at all, he was completely defenceless.
"You were wearing footwear and therefore that is the equivalent of a weapon being used.
"I accept it was spontaneous and not preplanned but that cuts both ways, because it shows that for absolutely no reason you were capable of using gross, disproportionate violence."
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