Father of Championship striker Leon Clarke died after being knocked out during pub brawl on New Year’s Eve

THE tragic dad of top footballer Leon Clarke died after a being knocked out during a New Year’s Eve drunken brawl, an inquest heard.

The Sheffield United striker’s dad Darel, 50, was attacked by reveller Dillon Price as the celebrations turned sour.

 Tragic Darel Clarke was knocked out with one punch during a drunken brawl

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Tragic Darel Clarke was knocked out with one punch during a drunken brawlCredit: Handout from West Midlands Polic

Darel had jumped on Price’s back and threw a number of punches during the row over buying drinks at The Boat Inn pub in Wolverhampton, West Midlands.

But Price delivered one blow to footie ace’s dad, which knocked him out, Black Country Coroner’s Court was told.

 Sheffield United star Leon Clarke's dad had staggered around before getting on his bike following the punch

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Sheffield United star Leon Clarke’s dad had staggered around before getting on his bike following the punchCredit: PA:Press Association

Detective Sergeant Angela Baggott told the inquest how Price had gone to get water to throw over Darel, but he was already up and had left the pub on his bike to make his way to another nearby.

She added: “Witnesses said people were asking him if he wanted an ambulance but he refused.

“He went outside and got on his bike, but fell off, hitting his head.”

Det Sgt Baggott said that no further action was taken against Price following his initial arrest.

CCTV played in court showed Darel lying on the floor then staggering to his feet before being placed in an ambulance.

He was taken to New Cross Hospital where medics found he had a bleed on the brain following the horrific incident.

Doctors decided on January 2 that nothing could be done for Darel and his life support was switched off.

It was unclear whether the punch or the fall killed the footballer’s dad, the court was told.

 The coroner said he could not be certain whether the punch or the fall from the bike killed Darel

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The coroner said he could not be certain whether the punch or the fall from the bike killed DarelCredit: PA:Press Association

Zafar Siddique, senior coroner for the Black Country, recorded an open verdict.

He said: “I really can’t be sure what caused Mr Clarke’s death – whether it was from the punch or when he fell off his bicycle.

“Therefore I have no no alternative but to record an open verdict. My sympathy and condolences go to Mr Clarke’s family.”

Leon Clarke, 31, scored more than 100 times for Wolverhampton Wanderers, helped promote QPR to the Premier League and has also played for Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City and Swindon Town.


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