Beds, Herts & Bucks

Clubber killed by single punch outside Dunstable venue

A man died from a single punch thrown by the boyfriend of barmaid he had been flirting with, a jury has heard.

Lithuanian national Tomas Juska was "poleaxed" outside Cookies nightclub in Dunstable by Cortney Batchelor, Luton Crown Court heard.

The 24 year old suffered a lethal brain injury and died the next day.

Cortney Batchelor, now 22, of Paisley Close, Luton, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, and said he acted in self-defence.

Prosecutor Michael Speak said Mr Juska, who worked for Amazon, was with colleagues at the club in the early hours of Sunday 23 August.

'Smash him'

Mr Batchelor, who did not know Mr Juska, was also in the club while his girlfriend Sarah Haynes was working behind the bar.

The prosecutor said: "Mr Juska took an interest in Sarah Haynes and flirted with her. It seems Mr Batchelor was nearby and noticed he was paying attention to her."

Door staff noticed there was "friction" between the two men and, as a result, Mr Juska was told to leave.

The court was told that shortly after, Mr Batchelor also left the club and was heard saying: "I am going to smash him."

Outside the club, Mr Batchelor confronted Mr Juska.

Mr Speak said: "He [Mr Juska] was not looking for a fight and was forced into it. Quite unexpectedly and, the Crown say, for no good reason the defendant punched Mr Juska.

"The tragedy is that Mr Juska hit the back of his head on the ground and that impact caused him to sustain a lethal brain injury from which he never recovered."

When questioned, Mr Batchelor recounted that he left the club and Mr Juska repeatedly said: "Do you want to fight me?"

He told the police he made a pre-emptive strike, said Mr Speak.

The case continues.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites