Trial stalls as man accused of killing sobs in the dock

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A WIGAN doorman, whose push led to the death of a drunken man, broke down as he gave evidence in court.

David Hanbury became so emotional as he relived the incident outside a club in the town’s King Street that his trial was adjourned.

After he broke down in tears the jury was sent out for 10 minutes so he could regain his composure but it was then decided to adjourn the case until Monday. Judge Mark Brown told jurors it was a serious case and necessary for the fairness of proceedings that Hanbury was able to give evidence in a coherent way unaffected by emotion.

The 30-year-old, of Bluebell Avenue, Beech Hill, is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court, denying the unlawful killing of Michael Warhurst.

The jury has seen CCTV footage from the early hours of last October 8 when Hanbury, who worked elsewhere and was off duty, arriving and talking to bouncers outside the Chicago Rock Cafe, then pushing Mr Warhurst. He stumbled backwards, lost his footing over the kerb and after staggering further, fell backwards cracking his head.

The 60-year-old of Scot Lane, Newtown, had earlier been ejected from the foyer of the club for being drunk.

Hanbury said he spoke to the bouncers as he believed Mr Warhurst might have knives in the bag he was carrying and had been aggressive to females.

He said he then intended going home but Mr Warhurst came over to him saying he was not scared of him and being foul-mouthed. He was holding a plant pot, which the jury has heard had been in his bag, and Hanbury said he was “very wary” of him.

He said he told Mr Warhurst to go home and when asked by his barrister Steven Swift what was going through his mind Hanbury said: “Fear. I wanted some space, he was too close. I could have punched him but I’m not that sort of person. He was too close and too intimidating in my personal space.”

Hanbury said he was good at “reading” people but “I could not read the bloke, he was overly aggressive.”

He admitted that he then pushed him but said: “It was a fingertip push to the top of his chest. I expected him to stumble back one step and regain his composure. I didn’t want to hurt him. He went over the kerb and went backwards. I felt shock and disbelief, I could not believe what I had just done, there was no intent for him to fall over, I wanted to move him back a pace or two. When I saw him fall my heart sank.”

Hanbury then became emotional but carried on to say: “It sort of put me in a trance, I thought ‘no, no’. I carried on walking, I was in complete and utter shock. I was walking away, I thought ‘no’, I have got to go and help him.”

He told how he went to the motionless figure and from behind pulled his shoulders up to his knees and was tapping him to bring him round. Someone helped him get him to safety by some bollards.

Hanbury said a man asked what had happened and he said Mr Warhurst had been highly aggressive. “I just eased him back, I wouldn’t call it a push.”

Mr Warhurst came round and got to his feet and was swearing at him but while Hanbury was telling someone he was behind him he saw he was back on the ground and seemed to be snoring. He said he rang 999 for an ambulance and when he later learnt from Facebook that he was seriously injured he went to the police station. During the interview, officers learnt that the victim had died from his head injuries and Hanbury said he had been distraught at being accused of murder.