Man jailed for life for murdering his father in Preston

A man has been jailed for life for murdering his father in Preston.

Appearing in the dock at Preston Crown Court today (April 16), Austin Duckworth was told that he would have to serve a minimum of 17 years before he is eligible for parole.

On 26th August, last year, Austin Duckworth breached his bail conditions by attending the home of the victim Stephen Duckworth on St George’s Road. Austin Duckworth forced his way into his father’s home and repeatedly punched him to the head, before walking away, telling his father he better call an ambulance.

Stephen was able to contact the police and provided an account of what had happened. He declined medical attention initially, but he felt increasingly unwell as the day progressed, resulting in him calling for an ambulance later that same evening.

Stephen was taken to hospital where it was discovered that he had a ‘devastating bleed to the brain’.

Despite the best efforts of medical staff, Stephen died from his injuries on 12th October 2023.

A post mortem examination revealed the cause of Stephen’s death was blunt force head trauma.

After a five-day trial at Preston Crown Court, Austin Duckworth, 37, of no fixed address, was found guilty of murder.

In a victim impact statement, Stephen’s brother Geoffrey Duckworth said: “We as a family have been shaken to the core by Stephen’s unlawful killing. We have not only lost Stephen but have had to process the fact that the person responsible for his death is Stephen’s son Austin, another family member. We cannot comprehend this. We wish we had known what Stephen had been through so we could have helped and protected him.

“Stephen did everything he could for Austin as when he split up with his ex-partner, Austin went to live with him. He tried to do what he could to help him.

“We as a family are extremely disappointed in Austin for what he has put our family through and the fact it has come to this. He has taken Stephen, a much-loved member of our family, from us. This is something that cannot be undone and does not bring Stephen back.”

DCI Jill Riley, from the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “I welcome the life sentence handed down to Austin Duckworth by the court today.

“The unprovoked and spontaneous violence that Austin Duckworth rained down on his 72-year-old father in his own home – a place where he was entitled to feel safe - was truly appalling. This was a callous and violent attack and one which left Stephen with non-survivable injuries.

“This is a very rare case where a murder victim was able to provide an account of the attack to the police, which was played to the jury during this trial. This was extremely upsetting for members of Stephen’s family who were present in court.

“Hearing their words in court today, it is clear that the whole family have been profoundly impacted by Stephen’s murder. They have also had to come to terms with the fact that it was carried out at the hands of his own son.

“I want to place on record my thanks to Stephen’s family for the way in which they conducted themselves throughout the trial and for the support they have given to this investigation. I am pleased that justice has been served and hope they can now begin the process of moving forward with their own lives.”

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