Footballer 'slapped dying rival' in post-match brawl

Monday 10 August 2009 16:43 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A Sunday league footballer sat astride a rival player slapping him around the head as he lay dying following a post-match brawl, a court heard today.

Brandon Thompson had to be pulled away from 43-year-old Darren Ritchie during the incident in November last year, jurors were told.

He is alleged to have told witnesses that he "couldn't give a s*** whether he dies or not".

Thompson, 21, of Widmore Road, Uxbridge, denies manslaughter.

Jurors were told that a second man, Darren Forwood, had admitted to the charge after throwing the fatal punch that knocked Mr Ritchie to the ground and caused the death of the "well-liked family man".

Timothy Cray, prosecuting, said it was Thompson who started the fight and he shared responsibility for the unlawful attack that resulted in the victim's death.

The brawl erupted after Mr Ritchie's team, Old Greenfordians, came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 against close rivals Thompson and Forwood's Kingshill Town, the Old Bailey was told.

Mr Cray said the anger of some members of the losing team "boiled over" into an attack that was "unnecessary, violent and ultimately fatal".

Thompson made threats to Mr Ritchie as he went to get his kit bag and tried to punch him but failed to connect, the court was told.

"After Mr Ritchie had been knocked to the ground, this defendant sat astride him, his knees either side of his body, and started to slap him hard on either side of his head," said Mr Cray.

"It seems clear that at this point Mr Ritchie was totally defenceless and was probably unconscious, and the attack by the defendant only stopped when others physically dragged the defendant off Mr Ritchie."

Jurors were told the victim had been sent off as the atmosphere of the game in Hayes, Middlesex, turned ugly and he made "negative" comments to rival players.

Kingshill's players were further angered by Old Greenfordians' last-minute winner and some "were simply not prepared to leave things on the pitch", the court heard.

Some members of both teams tried to calm things down and Mr Ritchie said: "I am not fighting you over a game of football."

But Forwood had gone around the edge of those involved the incident and punched him from behind, with Thompson said to have attacked him seconds later.

Thompson told police that while he was upset with Mr Ritchie for "winding everybody up" he was not angry, and said he had wrestled him to the ground and slapped him on both cheeks but had not punched him earlier.

Sourced from: The Belfast Telegraph

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