Manslaughter accused: ‘I only hit him once’

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A man who had been out drinking in Blackpool died after a single punch to the face, a court has heard.

Benjamin Gayton, of Rodney Walk, Grange Park, today went on trial at Preston Crown Court accused of the manslaughter of Anthony Roberts.

The court heard he confronted Mr Roberts, 44, in the Queen Street area of the resort and delivered a single punch that caused him to fall and his head on the ground.

The victim never regained consciousness following the attack in the early hours of March 26, which left him with severe head injuries, and despite extensive surgery died on April 10.

Gayton, 26, denies manslaughter.

The court was told Mr Roberts and a friend had been out drinking on the night of March 25 and there had been no trouble.

Charles Brown, prosecuting, said it seemed comments had been made as the two men passed the defendant’s group. Gayton thought they were about his girlfriend.

The prosecution say Gayton went on to run after the two men, closely followed by two male friends. The jury heard he then confronted Mr Roberts alone, punching him in the face.

Mr Brown said Gayton later remarked: “I only hit him once”.

A companion of the defendant allegedly had a brief physical altercation with Mr Roberts’ friend.

The court heard the victim suffered fractured skull, fractured eye socket and bleeding over the brain in the attack.

The prosecution told the jury the principal question they may have to consider is whether they are sure it was Benjamin Gayton who struck Mr Roberts, knocking him to the ground.

The trial continues and is due to last around five days.