Neath: Single-punch killing accused 'acted out of fear'

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Mark WinchcombeImage source, Family photo
Image caption,
Mark Winchcombe died after being hit by a single "ferocious" punch outside his pub

A teenager accused of killing a pub landlord with a single punch struck him out of fear, a court heard.

Mark Winchcombe, 58, suffered a "catastrophic brain injury" close to his pub, the Smiths Arms in Neath.

The jury at Swansea Crown Court heard he had been trying to move youths from outside his pub, last September.

The 16-year-old accused, who cannot be named, sent a Snapchat message with the words "oops", after the attack, the court was told.

The teenager denies manslaughter and claims he was defending himself when he hit Mr Winchcombe in the early hours of Sunday 1 September.

Mr Winchcombe hit his head on the pavement and died hours later in Morriston Hospital.

Earlier the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court how in the hours before the altercation he had been drinking with his friends at a festival.

Image caption,
Mark Winchcombe ran the Smith Arms pub

He had arrived at the pub in a taxi and saw his friends in a "confrontation" with a man called Geraint Morgan, before Mr Winchcombe and his wife came out to intervene, he told the jury.

The teenager told the court Mr Winchcombe threatened him and aimed a "jab" at him, and he had retaliated, saying "go on punch me, I dare you".

He said he then told the landlord "I'm not gonna hit you", because he "felt threatened".

"[He] was so close to me he was spitting on me and that's when I struck him out of fear," he said, adding he ran from the scene "out of fear".

He then went to his friend's house where he smoked cannabis and, during cross examination in the court, he admitted he had a laugh.

The next morning he sent a Snapchat message with the word "oops", but said this was because he was "feeling depressed and had a terrible night".

Prosecutor John Hipkin QC said to him he was seen in video footage "dancing around with your arms up and your fists clenched" before he punched him.

He asked why the teenager said he was not going to hit Mr Winchcombe, saying "You tricked him didn't you? Put him off his guard so you could get a good shot in?".

The defendant denied this and the trial continues.