Man who drunkenly killed banking boss in the West End cleared of murder but faces jail

Banking executive Paul Mason died after being attacked in the West End (Collect)
Banking executive Paul Mason died after being attacked in the West End (Collect)

A man who drunkenly attacked and killed a wealthy banking executive after he left The Ivy Club in London's West End is facing jail.

Steven Allan, 34, punched Paul Mason three times in the mistaken belief that he had stolen a mobile phone belonging to his friend, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Mason, a boss at Qatar National Bank, was knocked unconscious and suffered serious head injuries during the incident on the night of December 15, 2020. He died six months later.

Allan, an electrician, admitted the manslaughter of the 52-year-old but has denied intending to do serious harm.

A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for 24 hours to find him not guilty of the more serious offence of murder on Thursday after a retrial.

Judge Michael Topolski KC granted Allan continued conditional bail as he adjourned sentencing for a report to be prepared.

But he warned the defendant: "Make no mistake, a substantial term of imprisonment will be the end result in this case."

Addressing Mr Mason's tearful widow in court, the judge said: "You have throughout conducted yourself in a way your husband would be proud of, I am sure.

"The court expresses its sincere condolences to his family and friends, to you madam, and your family and friends. It must have been for you a protracted and painful process, made more painful by how long it has taken."

Prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff KC had previously told the court how the victim had helped a female friend into a black taxi after leaving the private members’ club.

He walked up towards West Street towards the junction where he was attacked by Allan, who had been out with a work colleague.

Witnesses described how Allan launched himself at Mr Mason at Cambridge Circus.

He marched across the road and tried to grab something from Mr Mason, who shrugged him off and stepped back.

Allan followed him and punched with his right fist, knocking Mr Mason towards buildings and onto the floor.

He leaned down as Mr Mason tried to move away and then punched him a second time as he attempted to get back on his feet.

Allan delivered an upper cut that caused Mr Mason to fly back and land on his back with his head hitting the pavement.

Before fleeing the scene, Allan took Mr Mason's phone and told onlookers: "That's my friend's phone. He stole my friend's phone."

Ms Bickerstaff told jurors: "At no stage did Mr Mason offer any violence or aggression towards Mr Allan."

Mr Mason died on the June 4 2021, as a direct consequence of the assault six months earlier.

Ms Bickerstaff had said: "This was an assault using fists only, with no use of any weapon.

"The defendant had been drinking and his case is that he was acting under the mistaken belief that the victim had stolen his friend's mobile telephone.

"The Crown says there was no realistic basis for this belief, and if it really was his belief then it was a mistake of fact undoubtedly brought about by his level of self-induced intoxication."

Allan will be sentenced for manslaughter at the Old Bailey on March 23.