Man who killed his own father in Preston is jailed for life

A man who murdered his father in Preston last year was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 17 years at Preston Crown Court today.

Austin Duckworth, 37, of no fixed address was found guilty of murder last week following a five-day trial.

Addressing the court in the absence of the defendant, who refused to attend, His Honour Judge Medland KC said it was an ‘utterly tragic case’ in which the victim, Stephen Duckworth, was ‘murdered by his own son in his own house.’

During the trial the court was told that, on 26 August last year, Duckworth forced his way into his father’s home on St George’s Road and repeatedly punched him in the head before walking away, telling him he ‘better call an ambulance.’

Judge Medland ruled that Duckworth had attacked his father with an intent to cause really serious harm as opposed to an intent to kill but added that his refusal to turn up to his sentencing displayed a ‘total absence of remorse.’

After being attacked last year the 72 year-old was able to call the police and give them an account of what had happened. A recording of this call was played to the jury during the trial.

The court also heard that despite initially declining medical attention, Mr Duckworth began to feel increasingly unwell and called for an ambulance later that evening.

He was taken to hospital where it was discovered following surgery that he had a ‘devastating bleed to the brain.’ Mr Duckworth died from his injuries on 12 October 2023.

Leading the defence counsel, Mr Hayton KC outlined how the defendant had previously been very close with his father, even living with him at one point, before their relationship broke down.

He told the court that Mr Duckworth had even left all his possessions to his son in his final will and testament, but he will no longer be entitled to any of it following the conviction.

In his victim impact statement read out by lead prosecutor Miss Shenton, 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.’’

He added: ‘’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.”

[Image courtesy of Lancashire Police Press Office]