Glasgow & West Scotland

Man killed 78-year-old father in Greenock after row

John Sharp Snr Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption John Sharp Snr was killed at his home in Greenock

A man has been convicted of murdering his frail 78-year-old father by strangling him.

John Sharp, 48, from Greenock, throttled John Sharp Snr so violently that he shattered a bone in his neck and his Adam's apple.

A court heard that the attack was sparked by Sharp confronting his father about why he dangled him out a window when he was 15 months old.

Sharp had claimed that he acted in self defence after his father punched him.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the attack happened at the victim's home in Ann Street, Greenock, on 9 January, and that the pensioner used a zimmer frame to get about.

Sharp told the court he and his father had rowed as they were having a cup of tea.

Choke hold

He said: "I asked him why when I was 15-months-old he held me outside a window."

He claimed that as he went to leave, his father had punched him on the face and then punched him a further three times in his ribcage.

He told the court he hit his father in retaliation after becoming angry and then pushed him, causing him to fall into a coffee table.

"I just smacked his arm and he went through the coffee table and onto the floor," he said.

He told the jury he had then tried to pick up his father, but he was a dead weight.

"I went round his neck with my arm and pulled him up," he said.

Sharp claimed the injuries to his father's neck were caused when he lifted him in the choke hold.

However, the jury did not believe him.

Blood on clothes

Police were called by a neighbour who dialled 999 after hearing raised voices and a thud.

Sharp was arrested for brandishing a knife before his father's body was discovered in the house.

The court heard that a table was overturned and two legs had been broken off a coffee table. Mr Sharp Snr's broken dentures were lying nearby.

The cause of death was compression of the neck and ischemic heart disease.

Pathologist Julie McAdam said: "The pattern of injuries in the head and neck is consistent with an assault."

Spatters of Mr Sharp's Snr's blood were found on his son's clothes and his DNA was found under the accused's fingernails.

Judge Lady Stacey told Sharp: "There is only one sentence open to me - life imprisonment."

She deferred sentence until next month when she will determine how many years Sharp must serve before being eligible for parole.

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