Sunderland man jailed for manslaughter after neighbour choked to death on sock

Paul Paget
Paul Paget

A man has been jailed for manslaughter after his neighbour choked to death on a sock.

Paul Paget, 54, originally from Sunderland, tied reclusive Anthony Bubbins' hands behind his back and shoved a sock in his mouth.

Paget, of Brynderwen Road, Newport, South Wales, was cleared of murder but found guilty of the manslaughter of 57-year-old after a two-week trial.

The 54-year-old had denied the charge - but admitted plundering Bubbins' coin collection and other trinkets after a burglary at the victim’s home in the hours after his death.

During his sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court, Mr Justice Simon Picken told him: “This was a truly horrible way in which to die.

“This was an act of degradation and humiliation. A callous lack of remorse is evident.”

Prosecutor Caroline Rees QC said when opening the trial at Newport Crown Court: “We say that Mr Bubbins was a vulnerable man living alone in Christchurch Road.

“He was a hoarder and collector of coins and ornaments.

“On January 15, he was found with his hands tied behind his back with a 22cm sock pushed into his mouth. It forced his tongue into his airway.”

She added that the victim “led a reclusive life” and at the time leading up to his death, the defendant was a regular visitor who had previously stolen items from there to take to a buy and sell store in Newport.

The jury were told the curios Mr Bubbins had collected were a “potential treasure trove” and that Paget was “in need of money”.

The victim’s flat was ransacked following his manslaughter with his killer selling gold sovereigns and another coin for £655 at City Treasures in Newport city centre.

Paget returned there and was paid just £15 for further items which included a statue of a pelican, a Royal Air Force medal and Star Trek plate.

The jury were also told about the defendant’s criminal past and a similar offence he was convicted of in 2000 for robbery and false imprisonment.

Nearly 20 years before Paget had tied up his victim’s ankles and hands in a railway signal box with electrical wire.

He was threatened with a knife and struck over the head with a scaffold pole.

The court was also told how he had 22 previous convictions for offences of dishonesty, including theft and burglary.

Paget, who was defended by David Elias QC, claimed Mr Bubbins had sexually assaulted his close friend and neighbour.

He told the jury how he had struggled with Mr Bubbins at his flat after Jonathan Browning had made the allegation against him.

Paget said his neighbour, who died on January 2, told him that a man, the defendant later understood to be the manslaughter victim, had performed a sex act on him.