Twenty-stone Hartlepool killer branded 'overbearing bully' as he is jailed by judge

Clockwise from top left, killer Leslie Dowson, victim Stanley Burgon and Mr Burgon's home in Rydal Street, Hartlepool, after the fatal attack.
Clockwise from top left, killer Leslie Dowson, victim Stanley Burgon and Mr Burgon's home in Rydal Street, Hartlepool, after the fatal attack.

An "overbearing bully" who killed a vulnerable man in his own home has been jailed for 12 years.

Burly Leslie Dowson launched a violent attack on 10-stone Stanley Burgon after bursting through his front door.

Killer Leslie Dowson.

Killer Leslie Dowson.

Dowson was later overheard gloating and laughing about what he had done, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Dowson was also jailed for a separate attack in which he hit his cousin with a door stop, breaking his arm.

"It was a neighbour in Rydal Street in Hartlepool who found Mr Burgon unconscious in his hallway," said John Elvidge, prosecuting.

"The neighbour's attention had been drawn by noise coming from next door.

Victim Stanley Burgon.

Victim Stanley Burgon.

"He had no need to open the door, because Leslie Dowson had knocked it off its hinges.

"Dowson struck a series of blows to Mr Burgon's head and body.

"He was in the house for less than five minutes, leaving in a waiting car,"

Mr Burgon, 56, was taken by air ambulance to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where he died three days later.

A post mortem examination concluded blows to the head had caused a pre-existing brain aneurysm to burst.

Mr Elvidge said the motive for the attack was unclear although Dowson had earlier assaulted Mr Burgon's daughter, Carly, and Mr Burgon had intervened to help her.

Carly Burgon had been in an on-off relationship with Dowson and he had previously been violent towards her.

Dowson, 43, of St Oswald Street, Hartlepool, admitted committing manslaughter on November 18 last year.

He also admitted a separate offence of unlawful wounding against his cousin, Michael Casey, on December 7 last year at 6am in Dowson's home after a 12-hour drinking session together.

In an overheard conversation, Dowson said he had "mullered" Mr Casey and "really went to town on him".

Details of the guilty manslaughter plea could only be made public for the first time on Tuesday after the conclusion of the unlawful wounding case.

In a victim personal statement, Mr Burgon's brother Peter spoke of the family's distress and heartbreak at seeing Mr Burgon in the intensive care unit in hospital and having to watch him die.

Peter Burgon said the family would be affected by the death for the rest of their lives.

Peter Makepeace, defending, said in mitigation: "The tragedy of this case is Mr Burgon's death, and nothing I say seeks to minimise that in any way.

"Mr Dowson had hoped to enlist the help of Mr Burgon to get back together with his daughter.

"He did not intend serious harm to Mr Burgon, and could not have foreseen his actions would result in his death."

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, jailed Dowson for a total of 12 years for both offences.

The judge told Dowson: "Stanley Burgon was 56-years-old and 5ft 5" tall, he was vulnerable, frail, with medical issues and a drug addict.

"He was no match for you at 20 stones, and was clearly frightened of you.

"He was a father and had a daughter and a brother.

"This manslaughter offence was not spontaneous, you arranged transport to get to Mr Burgon's house.

"Once there, in temper, you burst through the door and attacked him, there was no conversation.

"You had earlier assaulted his daughter, and three weeks later you attacked your cousin Michael Casey.

""It is clear you are a man who is violent and prone to losing his temper.

"In short Mr Dowson, you are an overbearing bully."

The judge ruled Dowson presents a danger of serious harm to the public and ordered his licence period on release to be extended by four years.

Senior Investigating Officer Chief Inspector Steve Young, from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team, said after the sentence: “I am pleased with the sentence handed to Leslie Dowson today, which reflects the severity of the crime that was committed.

“A man has sadly lost his life and my thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”