Man died after alleged punch to the face, manslaughter trial hears

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Brodie Groome has denied manslaughter arising out of the alleged attack on Steven Warburton in Vineyard Street, Colchester on August 19 last year. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A 46-year-old man died in hospital three weeks after hitting his head on the ground after being punched in the face during a night out in Colchester, a court has heard.

A witness later described Steven Warburton, who suffered a fractured skull in the incident, as being “felled like a tree,” Ipswich Crown Court heard on Monday.

As a result of an alleged single punch to his face by 26-year-old Brodie Groome, Mr Warburton’s head made such forceful contact with the ground that an audible crack could be heard, said Nicola May, prosecuting. 

Groome, of Sydney Street, Brightlingsea, has denied manslaughter arising out of the alleged attack on Mr Warburton in Vineyard Street, Colchester on August 19 last year.

Miss May told the court that Mr Warburton had been out in Colchester with his wife Caroline, son Byron and daughter-in-law Olivia celebrating Byron and Olivia’s first wedding anniversary and they had all been drinking.

Groome had been out in Colchester with a male friend and two women and they too had 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 Miss May.

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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.

“Her last memory of her husband was him looking at her with his hands down by his side,” she said.

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

“She didn’t see the defendant hit her husband but no-one else was near him when this happened,” said Miss May.

“The prosecution say there was nothing in his stance to suggest he shifted from being non-aggressive to aggressive,” said Miss May.

Miss May said a witness described Mr Warburton as not being aggressive and walking backwards from the incident.

She said that after Mr Warburton had been injured Byron Warburton had been upset with his mother and had subsequently been given a police caution for apparently slapping her and contact with her while she was in the ground. “This doesn’t show the Warburtons in the most flattering light,” said Miss May.

She said Mr Warburton had died in hospital three weeks after the alleged attack and experts agreed he had died as a result of a brain injury caused by a punch.

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

“The prosecution say he didn’t strike him ( Mr Warburton) to defend himself or anyone else,” said Miss May.

The trial continues.