Police arrested brawl accused after hospital operation, court hears (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Police arrested Teddington brawl accused after hospital operation, court hears
A man being tried for punching a student who died after a fight told a court he thought he "got away" with it.
Inigo Anderson, 21, of Queenswood Avenue, Hampton, faces one charge of actual bodily harm after he punched Patrick Lawless in Teddington on November 10, 2012.
The blow followed a 30-man brawl outside the Royal Oak in the high street and was followed by a further punch to Mr Lawless in Field Lane by his friend Patrick Conway, who is charged with manslaughter.
The jury heard an extremely drunk Mr Lawless had been winding up Mr Anderson, who was sober and on bail at the time, and tried to swing at him so Mr Anderson punched him, in what he said was self defence.
During cross examination prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said: “You admit punching Patrick Lawless now. My point quite simply Mr Anderson is that the punch was unlawful because there was no need to punch Patrick Lawless when you did.
“He was drunk, he was angry, he was getting in your physical space and provoking you. He succeeded didn’t he?”
Mr Anderson said Mr Lawless did provoke him but said he did not react until Mr Lawless went to punch him.
Ms Cheema suggested Mr Lawless could not have posed a serious threat to Mr Anderson and said he would have known punching him would seriously injure him.
She said: “If this drunk man, who was no contest for you, was swinging a punch at you why was it necessary to hit him quite so hard to break his nose?”
Mr Anderson agreed it would not have been a fair fight but said he had no choice but to punch Mr Lawless in self defence and told the court he felt it was proportionate to the threat.
He said: “As I said it was a quick jab. It was never intended to make him fall or make him bleed. It was simply to get him away from me.”
The court heard Mr Anderson had Mr Lawless’s blood on his trainers but said he did not realise Mr Lawless was bleeding.
Mr Anderson told the court he had a scheduled facial operation the following day, which was completed under general anaesthetic, and when he came out of theatre he was arrested and handcuffed to his hospital bed.
He said: “I had literally just been wheeled back from theatre in my ward and there were five police officers arresting me on the allegation of murder.”
Mr Anderson admitted when he first spoke to police he lied and said he had not punched anyone.
He said: “Yeah I did lie. I panicked I suppose, you know. I had just woken up from an operation and there are police officers there arresting me for murder. It's not an everyday thing is it?”
The court heard Mr Anderson thought he “got away” with punching Mr Lawless until he realised police knew he had thrown a punch.
He said: “In previous situations with the police I have been in situations where they have tried to make me slip up and I thought they didn’t know about my bit so I’m not going to put myself somewhere where they don’t know about me being.
“It wasn’t until after the actual interview I fully acknowledged they did know I punched Patrick Lawless.”
Ms Cheema suggested that if Mr Anderson punched Mr Lawless in self defence there would have been nothing to “get away with”.
Mr Anderson said: “It was murder at the time. Maybe if it was ABH at the time I might have put my hands up.”
The trial continues.