Son tells how father died after single punch to face

Vineyard Street car park in Colchester

The incident happened in the Vineyard Street car park just off Colchester town centre - Credit: Google Street View

The son of a man who died in hospital three weeks after hitting his head on the ground after being punched in the face during a night out in Colchester has told a court his father hadn’t done anything to provoke the blow.

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court, Byron Warburton said that immediately before his 46-year-old father Steven Warburton was punched he had been about to pick up his mother who was lying on the ground.

Asked by prosecution counsel Nicola May: “Had he said or done anything in terms of the other group?” Mr Warburton replied: “Not that I saw.”

Before the court is 26-year-old Brodie Groome, of Sydney Street, Brightlingsea, who has denied manslaughter arising out of the alleged attack on Mr Warburton in Vineyard Street, Colchester, on August 19 last year.

The court has heard that Mr Warburton had been out drinking in Colchester with his wife Caroline, son Byron and daughter-in-law Olivia to celebrate Byron and Olivia’s first wedding anniversary.

Groome had been out in Colchester with a male friend and two women and they had also been drinking.

The two groups met in the Vineyard Street car park just after midnight and there were conflicting accounts about how the violence that followed erupted, said Nicola May, prosecuting.

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She said that on mobile phone footage recorded by a witness both groups were shouting at each other, apart from Mr Warburton who was hanging around at the back of the group.

He could be seen pulling his son away and then picking his wife up off the ground after she fell over but wasn’t involved in the altercation, alleged Miss May.

Groome had then allegedly come over and Mrs Warburton saw her husband falling backwards and hitting the ground.

A witness later described Mr Warburton, who suffered a fractured skull in the incident, as being “felled like a tree”.

As a result of an alleged single punch to his face by Groome, Mr Warburton’s head made such forceful contact with the ground that an audible crack could be heard, said Miss May. 

During his evidence Byron Warburton accepted taking his anger at what had happened to his father out on his mother and that he had been given a police caution for assaulting her.

The court heard that Groome claimed he had been acting in self-defence.

The trial continues.

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