Patrick French, a fluent French speaker, was talking to the tourist in a queue for a burger after a night out in Kingston, south-west London. But Dean Monaghan and Scott Steer, both 19, and Mark Day, 20, who were in the queue behind him, believed he was making fun of them and attacked him.
David Paget, for the prosecution, said that the three punched and kicked Mr French to the ground before dragging him across the bonnet of a car and then smashing his head into the windows of some shops.
The jury was told that the men thought Mr French, from Kingston, was talking about them in French when they picked a fight with him and his flatmate, Damien Chapman, in the market square in Kingston. Mr Chapman, 23, was punched as he tried to intervene. Mr French was taken to Kingston hospital, where he died some hours later of a brain haemorrhage.
Mr Paget said the two groups clashed after the students and four French girls were queuing in the market square in Kingston.
'Patrick French was talking, I dare say quite loudly, to one of the girls, Emmanuelle. He had his arms around her. Damien Chapman also had his arms around her,' he said.
'Between them they were chatting her up in French. That apparently caused offence to the defendants.'
Mr Monaghan first challenged the pair, saying: 'Go back to your own country' the court heard.
Mr Paget said: 'He seems to have taken the view that in some way they were taking the mickey out of him.'
The court was told that the three men ran off after the attack and were later arrested.
Mr Day, a builder, of Camberley, Surrey, and Mr Steer, a plumber, of Leatherhead, Surrey, both deny two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one charge of violent disorder.
Mr Monaghan, of New Malden, south-west London, denies murder, one count of assault and one of violent disorder, but has pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Chapman.
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