Murder trial: Dad 'killed in cowardly pub attack'

A dad died from injuries inflicted in a “cowardly and unprovoked” attack at his local pub, a murder trial heard.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 7:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 12:37 pm
Lee Christy

Lee Christy was set upon by Derek Bentham in the toilets of the Bear’s Paw public house in Market Street, Hindley on September 15 last year.

Bentham, who denies murder but admits manslaughter, followed Mr Christy to the toilets before launching a 17 second barrage of punches, kicks and head-butts on him as he “lay helpless on the ground.”

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Lee Christy

The 45-year-old was taken to hospital later that evening, but tragically he never recovered from his injuries and died three days later.

Bentham, 46, of Smithwood Avenue, Hindley, denied one count or murder at the opening of the trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Mr McGinty described the incident as a “cowardly” attack, before showing the jurors CCTV footage from the pub on the night of the incident.

Cameras captured the unsuspecting Mr Christy making his way to the toilets shortly after 10pm on the Saturday evening. He was followed by Bentham who was “striding at pace” behind him, into the toilets where the sickening onslaught took place.

Flowers were left outside The Bears Paw pub

Mr Christy was taken “entirely by surprise” by the assault and was “powerless to defend himself” after being knocked out, Mr McGinty told the jury.

A camera inside the toilets - which was not pointed towards any urinals - showed Mr Christy dropping to the floor after being hit from behind.

While he lay helpless on the ground, he was kicked in the midriff by Bentham, who then “sat astride” his chest, grabbed him by the neck and delivered a powerful head-butt.

Bentham head-butted Mr Christy once more and punched him before getting up and leaving his unconscious on the floor. He was about to exit the toilets before returning to deliver a final kick to his “limp and lifeless body.”

Mr Christy was eventually roused and, despite suffering serious injuries including a lacerated spleen and a bleeding forehead, he refused to go to hospital and deemed himself well enough to leave the pub.

But after taking him home, Mr Christy’s concerned friends called an ambulance after he was unable to stand upright or stay awake.

He was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove his lacerated spleen, and he was also found to have suffered severe abdominal trauma.

But despite the best efforts of doctors, Mr Christy died on September 18, and Bentham was said to have surrendered himself to police later that same day.

The defence told the jury: “It is not being suggested that this was justifiable. It is clear that what he did was to assault a man who was drunk, and put him to the floor.”

The trial continues and is expected to last five days.