The devastated daughter of tragic Mark Dixon cries herself to sleep because she misses her daddy so much, his wife has told.
The huge impact of Mark’s loss to his family – especially his bewildered six-year-old daughter Ella – was laid bare by his brave wife Loraine as his killer was jailed yesterday.
Paul Sutton was sentenced to six years at Newcastle Crown Court for the “needless” death of Mark, who died after he was the victim of a one-punch attack in Hartlepool town centre.
In a heart-wrenching statement read out in court Loraine told how Ella screamed and clung to Mark’s hospital bed when she was told he would not get better.
The force of Sutton’s unprovoked attack knocked Mark unconscious and he hit his head hard on the pavement.
Mark, 32, who lived in Peterlee, died in James Cook hospital, in Middlesbrough, six days later.
The hardest thing I have ever done was to tell my six-year-old daughter her daddy won’t be getting any betterLoraine Dixon
Loraine said in the statement how Mark and Ella were inseparable and were best friends.
Due to his shift patterns Mark, who worked for Britton Decoflex, on Hartlepool’s Oaksway trading estate, would drop off and pick up Ella from school and read her bedtime stories.
She said: “Ella is totally devastated, as am I. The hardest thing I have ever done was when we were in hospital and I had to tell my six-year-old daughter her daddy won’t be getting any better and it was time to say goodbye.
“She screamed and clung to Mark until eventually she had to be dragged away from his hospital bed.”
Loraine, who had been married to Mark for seven years, added she has to remind Ella every day her daddy is not coming home.
She said: “She cries herself to sleep most nights worrying about where he is, what’s happening to him and why he had to leave her.”
Drunken Sutton, 29, attacked Mark, who had been looking for a taxi home, when he questioned Sutton about a remark he shouted when they walked past each other in Victoria Road, at around 4am on Sunday, October 5.
Mark had spent the night at friends’ wedding reception on the Headland before he met up with work friends in Hartlepool town centre.
Self-employed Sutton, of Raby Gardens, Hartlepool, who trained as a boxer when he was a teenager, was found guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Teesside Crown Court earlier this month.
John Elvidge QC, mitigating, said: “He has expressed genuine remorse in this case and genuine interest in the consequences of what he did.”
Sentencing, Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing said: “This is a tragic case, no sentence would bring Mr Dixon back.
“All the more terrible is [his family] know Mr Dixon lost his life over nothing; your drunken shout in the street in the early hours of the morning and your drunken over reaction when Mr Dixon walked over towards you.”
Fresh flowers (pictured) were left at the scene, next to Loons Bar, in Victoria Road, ahead of the sentencing hearing.
Outside court Mark’s father-in-law Frank Wright said: “No sentence was going to bring him back.
“The person that’s most affected is Ella. She’s lost her daddy and he’s not going to come back.
“She is the biggest victim.”
Loraine also wished to thank Cleveland Police for their support saying: “They have been fantastic.”