Brighton attack victim Jay Abatan unlawfully killed

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Jay Abatan
Image caption,
Jay Abatan died in hospital five days after he hit his head on a pavement in Brighton

A man who died after an "unprovoked attack" outside a nightclub 11 years ago was unlawfully killed, a coroner has recorded.

Jay Abatan, 42, was punched twice in the face outside the Ocean Rooms in Brighton in what his family think was a racist assault.

He fractured his skull on the pavement and died in hospital five days later.

Coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley said: "The assault inadvertently resulted in his death."

Mr Abatan, an accountant from Eastbourne, was attacked in January 1999 following a row over a taxi.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of the father-of-two's death was a severe head injury.

Ms Hamilton-Deeley added: "I'm satisfied that Jay was punched twice in the face by an individual. The act of punching him was an unlawful and dangerous assault upon him.

"Any sober and reasonable person would realise that Jay was at risk of serious harm by that assault."

She told the inquest at Brighton Magistrates' Court the attack was "entirely unprovoked and entirely unexplained".

Following the verdict, Mr Abatan's brother Michael read a statement, which said: "Eleven years on we have learned that Jay was severely assaulted and left, by many of those who saw, to die on the roadside.

"As a family, we know others out there do remember what happened to Jay and we will not stop until all the truth comes out."

The family of Mr Abatan, who was mixed race, believe the attack against him was racially motivated.

Manslaughter charges against two men were dropped and they were cleared of assaulting Michael Abatan.

One of the men committed suicide in 2003.

'Reviewing evidence'

Mr Abatan's family claimed there were significant failings with the police investigation and two detective inspectors were later disciplined.

Det Supt Andy Griffiths, of Sussex Police, said: "We share the frustration of Jay's family that no-one has been brought to justice for this crime and will be reviewing evidence given by witnesses during the inquest to see if it provides new lines of inquiry.

"If so, these will be investigated by a team from the force's Major Crime Branch.

"The inquest was a painful process for Jay's family and friends as they heard evidence of the evening that resulted in his death and my thoughts are with them today."

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