'I felt in danger' - World Cup Leeds pub death accused

A man on trial for manslaughter told police he struck his alleged victim once as he felt in danger during the confrontation outside a Leeds pub.

A court heard yesterday how Christopher Perry, 26, and Robert Wilson, 44, squared up to each other like boxers outside the Skyrack shortly before the older man was struck a fatal blow.

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A trial at Leeds Crown Court has heard how the incident took place following the England V USA World Cup game on June 12 last year.

Perry, of Shadwell Walk, Moortown, denies manslaughter, claiming he acted in self defence.

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After his arrest, Perry gave a statement to the police in which he apologised to Mr Wilson's family for the death, which he believed he had caused.

He described how the incident had stemmed from an argument between his friend, Simon Coen, and a friend of Mr Wilson's, as they were queuing to get into the pub.

Perry had earlier been to watch the World Cup game, which was televised on a giant screen nearby at Yorkshire's cricket ground, with his girlfriend Francesca Kelly and a group of friends.

He described how they had allowed a friend to join them in the queue. But Mr Wilson's friend, who was stood further back, took exception to him being allowed to push in.

Perry said he wasn't involved in the initial exchange of words and thought the matter was over.

But he said once inside Mr Coen was being "eyed" by Mr Wilson and his friend.

After 20 minutes the group decided to leave due to the tense atmosphere. Perry said he heard the sound of a scuffle behind him in the beer garden and saw punches being thrown at Mr Coen.

Perry said he tried to break up the fight and a drink was thrown into the crowd, covering his girlfriend in beer.

He said they were then followed out of the beer garden by Mr Wilson who said to him: "Come on big man, me and you right now. I will smash your head in. If you think you are bad I will smash your head in."

Perry said Mr Wilson came up to him and started moving like a boxer.

He said: "I feared he was going to assault me so I hit him with my right hand."

Perry said he then left the scene as he felt the danger had passed.

Mr Wilson, of West Park, suffered a fractured skull after his head hit the ground. He died from his injuries 11 days after the incident.

Skyrack doorman Collins St-Ange told the court how Perry went "drip-white" after hitting Mr Wilson and left the scene.

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