Man died following punch during drunken argument which spilled out onto street, trial hears

A man died following a punch during a drunk argument with another man which spilled out onto the street, a trial has heard. Robert Payne, 60, had been drinking with Jamie Kennedy, 24, before the pair began arguing inside Mr Payne’s home in Derker, Oldham, it was said.

The argument spilled out onto the street, during which Mr Kennedy, of Royton, punched Mr Payne to the face, causing him to fall back and hit his head on the pavement, Manchester Crown Court heard.

He fell unconscious after hitting the floor, but prosecutors allege that Mr Kennedy leant over him and ‘delivered another three or four punches’ to his head and face. Mr Payne sadly died from his injuries three days later, the court heard.

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Mr Kennedy, of Garden Terrace, has previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but denies the offence of murder, jurors were told.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Kennedy’s brother, Christopher, was a regular visitor to Mr Payne’s home on Frances Street, and would often drink with him and his partner. Mr Kennedy was a ‘less frequent visitor’, he said.

“The past association with Robert Payne (RP) may explain why the Kennedy brothers decided that they would make their way to “Uncle Bob’s” early in the morning of October 15 of last year,” Mr McEntee said.

“There had been some difficulty with Christopher Kennedy and he couldn’t stay at his flat, and together with two women, they set off towards Frances Street.

“It will appear that Mr Payne appeared happy to see the Kennedy brothers and appeared happy to start drinking with them before 7am. One of the women reports that between 7am and 9am, Mr Payne, together with a neighbour and the two Kennedy brothers consumed a litre bottle of vodka and a litre bottle of brandy.”

Shaunnagh Roberts, Mr Payne’s neighbour, said the Kennedy brothers and the two women knocked on her address at around 5am asking for somewhere to drink, the court heard. She did not allow them into her house, and instead they went next door to Mr Payne’s house. She then went across to his house to ‘make sure nothing happened’, it was said. An argument then developed between Ms Roberts and Christopher Kennedy, which involved the flicking of cigarette ash and name calling, jurors heard.

Tactical aid unit officers in Derker this morning
Tactical aid unit officers in Derker
(Image: KBP)

Christopher Kennedy then allegedly became aggressive and ‘pushed Mr Payne to the ground and sat on him’ before grabbing his neck and then leaving the house.

An argument then developed between Jamie Kennedy and Mr Payne before Mr Kennedy was told to leave, it was said. It’s alleged that Mr Kennedy attacked Mr Payne in a similar manner to how his brother did, by ‘pushing him down and grabbing him by the throat’, Mr McEntee said.

Mr Kennedy would go on to tell his sister that he had woken up on the sofa to find Mr Payne with his hands around his throat, jurors were told. The men moved outside shortly before the alleged incident.

“The Prosecution say the crucial aspect of Ms Roberts evidence is that she describes having gone outside and reached the gate. She said: “Bob grabbed hold of Jamie, Jamie punched him. Obviously he’s drunk and he fell to the floor and hit his head”. She described what happened as ‘horrible’,” Mr McEntee said.

“As he fell he’s basically out cold”, she said. “I don’t know why he had to do it, but he carried on punching him whilst he was on the floor.”

Jurors were told that once his head hit the floor, this caused Mr Payne’s death. Pathologist Dr Phillip Lumb ‘worsened his condition’, which the prosecution suggested a level of ‘insight’ into Mr Kennedy’s intention.

Other neighbours who witnessed the events could hear ‘shouting and screaming’ from 9am, the court heard. They saw Mr Kennedy, who ‘seemed very drunk’ punch Mr Payne with his right hand to the face, and he ‘just fell backwards’.

When Mr Payne fell to the floor, Mr Kennedy continued punching him ‘around three times’, in which the neighbour described he used ‘all his power’, the prosecutor added.

They immediately thought that Mr Kennedy had ‘killed’ Mr Payne, it was said. The court heard that Mr Kennedy then left and made his way to his sister’s address and said: “Help me, I woke up on a guy’s sofa and he had my by the throat. I punched him one and there was blood everywhere from his head. I don’t know what I’ve done.”

He was later arrested and interviewed and gave ‘no comment’ but instead gave a prepared statement which acknowledged that he had been drinking but said his recollection was ‘hazy’, jurors were told. Mr Kennedy went on to say he acted in self defence, but that was not maintained following his guilty plea to the offence of manslaughter, the court heard.

Mr Kennedy, of Garden Terrace, Royton, denies murder.

Proceeding

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Manchester Evening News – Oldham