Thug decorator killed grandfather with one punch in Devon

A thug has been jailed for six years for killing a grandfather with a single punch after taking a pub row outside. 

Ashley Lawman, 25, was jailed for manslaughter after he hit John Olver in Plymouth, Devon, just after midnight in July.

The father of three died from a stroke caused by bleeding on the brain. 

Tragic: Father of three Mr Olver died from a stroke caused by bleeding on the brain

A court was shown CCTV which showed father-of-two Lawman turn and punch his 60-year-old victim in the head as he left the pub front door.

Mr Olver’s family has asked the police not to release the upsetting footage.  

Plymouth Crown Court heard the two men were strangers to each other and Mr Olver had spoken just five words to his attacker inside the pub.

Before throwing the fatal punch, decorator Lawman, who has no previous convictions, could be seen apologising to bystanders for what he was about to do.  

Plymouth Crown Court was told that Mr Olver was irritated that Lawman was talking to a woman friend and said loudly: ‘Tell him to f off.’

Lawman, who was not drunk, said to Mr Olver in a non aggressive way to ‘take it outside’.

Ali Rafati, defending, said: ‘He never expected him to take him up on it. It was a single blow which struck the cheek. He is utterly devastated for what he has done.’

Judge Paul Darlow said Halifax born Lawman did not give the older man a chance to defend himself in what was a senseless and tragic killing.

The public gallery was packed with relatives from Mr Olver’s large family.

Ashley Lawman (right), 25, was jailed for manslaughter after he hit John Olver outside a pub in Plymouth, Devon, just after midnight in July

The court heard that Lawman left the scene but was arrested nearby. He answered ‘no comment’ in police interview and has been in Exeter prison ever since.

Mr Olver had three children, seven grandchildren, three sisters and two brothers, plus a host of nieces and nephews. He separated from his wife in 2007.

Mr Olver’s son Daniel said he only got to say goodbye to his father with his siblings Darryl and Stephanie at the mortuary.

He added that by the time of his funeral Mr Olver’s body had deteriorated too much to be viewed at the chapel of rest.

Daniel Olver said he believed the tragedy contributed to the death of his ill grandmother 19 days later.