Norwich father of three killed by one punch in Prince of Wales Road attack, court hears
PUBLISHED: 08:17 07 December 2011 | UPDATED: 13:58 07 December 2011
A father-of-three who died after being assaulted on Prince of Wales Road could have been the victim of mistaken identity, a court has heard.
Alan Jewitt, 43, from Gertrude Road, north Norwich, died on August 12 this year after being attacked near Chicago’s nightclub by Ion Lacatus, 27, of Kettlebaston Road, London.
Lacatus, a Romanian national who was working on a shop conversion in Norwich at the time, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday for the start of a manslaughter trial.
Christopher Morgan, prosecuting, said Mr Jewitt, a self-employed electrician, was punched to the left side of the head by Lacatus, who denies manslaughter.
Mr Morgan said: “The blow caused trauma to the left vertebral artery situated at the junction of head and neck which resulted in a sudden release of blood into the region of the brain stem. It’s the shock of that sudden release that placed Mr Jewitt into respiratory or cardiac arrest.”
Mr Jewitt, who had consumed alcohol, was “poleaxed” and went straight to the floor. His head struck the pavement with a “thud” but this did not cause his death, it was the sudden release of blood to his head.
Mr Morgan said: “There’s no dispute in this case that the defendant delivered the blow. What is in dispute is whether that blow was lawful.”
The jury was told the defendant is likely to say he acted in lawful self-defence either of himself or a work colleague who had been involved in an altercation with Mr Jewitt moments before the blow was delivered.
But Mr Morgan said Lacatus, who had been out drinking with work colleagues, could have “mistaken” Mr Jewitt for a man who had made a nuisance of himself with an inflatable male body part while the defendant was in Chicago’s and delivered the punch in an act of “retaliation or revenge”.
Mr Morgan said Lacatus had taken exception to the actions of the man with the inflatable, who was not Mr Jewitt, and a “tried to wrestle it away” during which his T-shirt was ripped.
The man with the inflatable was ejected and Lacatus was given a promotional Chicago’s T-shirt to wear.
The court heard Mr Jewitt returned from work at about 5pm on August 11 and shortly after went to the Heath House pub with his wife Sally and their daughter.
Once at the pub they met Robert Lyon, the couple’s best man at their wedding, and then had a few drinks.
Mr Morgan said at some point Sally returned to the family home to check on her son Jamie, Mr Jewitt’s stepson.
Mr Jewitt, looking for Sally, returned home and an argument began between Mr Jewitt and Jamie which resulted in Mr Jewitt returning to the pub, while Sally eventually went home.
Mr Morgan said: “She anticipated he would come home but she also knew there had been occasions when he went off drinking and would return the following morning and apologise.
“Sadly for her when she left the pub that was the last time she would see her husband alive.”
Mr Jewitt and Mr Lyon went to the Fat Cat Brewery Tap where they met up with a couple of other friends before heading to the Stanley pub and then to the city where they went to Mojos on Prince of Wales Road.
Mr Jewitt left Mojos at about 2am and by about 2.25am was walking past Chicago’s where a work colleague of Lacatus, Robert Albern, walked into Mr Jewitt.
Mr Morgan said Mr Albern tried to apologise and tried to walk round but Mr Jewitt “became aggressive” and was “rankling” about something.
Mr Albern tried to calm Mr Jewitt down but a verbal argument started, although no blows were thrown. Another work colleague of the defendant stepped in to try and calm the situation down before Lacatus moved in and threw a punch which knocked Mr Jewitt to the floor.
Mr Morgan said: “That is the blow that you (the jury) are concerned with and whether it was delivered in self defence or whether it was, as the crown say, an act of retaliation not against Mr Jewitt but against the man that this defendant believed was the man with the inflatable who ripped his T-shirt.”
The trial continues.