Inquest verdict on Neasden man who died in fight could take months

Coroner will make his decision at a later date

THE FAMILY of a young man who died after a pub fight face a torturous wait to find out an inquest ruling into his death.

Wayne Kelly, 21, of Alderton Close, Neasden, died after he intervened in an argument outside The Harp pub in West Hendon, on April 10, 2005.

An inquest into his death was held at Barnet Coroner’s Court on Monday and Tuesday but the verdict has been adjourned for several months.

The inquest heard Mr Kelly died of a massive blow to the head minutes after he was punched by a bouncer outside a pub.

He had tried to intervene in an argument between two men and the bouncers when he became embroiled in a fight with a doorman.

Giving evidence, doorman Osita Hernandez admitted he ‘lost his temper’ with Mr Kelly, and punched him twice in the ribs, but denied dealing him the fatal head blow.

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Mr Hernandez claimed Mr Kelly had threatened another doorman and had tried to punch him immediately before the struggle. The bouncer then chased after Mr Kelly as he tried to flee the pub.

He said: “Afterwards he turned round and threw a punch at me.

“He ran off the premises and I chased him. In my experience when somebody does something like that they normally come back and do it again, so I wanted to grab him to make sure he was off the premises.

“I caught up and grabbed him, he turned round and we struggled together. I hit him twice in the body and then he ran off.

“He was running when his ankle buckled and he fell backwards, hitting the floor hard without breaking his fall.”

Mr Hernandez said he ‘panicked and hit him twice’ because he thought Mr Kelly was reaching for what he feared was a weapon hidden beneath his jumper. He said: “He spun round and it looked like he was reaching for something, that’s why I panicked and hit him twice.

“Maybe I did lose my temper, but I felt like I was still in control.”

The inquest then heard how Mr Fernandez left Mr Kelly lying on the floor and returned to the pub without calling an ambulance.

A post-mortem report into his death revealed that Mr Kelly was found with a shoe sole imprint on his forehead thought to be caused by someone stamping on his head.

He died from an extreme blow to the head which caused internal bleeding to the brain.

Mr Kelly’s family quietly sobbed as they were screened CCTV footage taken from the pub showing the 21-year-old’s final moments.

The images show Mr Kelly getting into an altercation with the bouncer. Moments later his motionless body is shown lying in the street as his friends desperately try to wake him.

Three men were initially arrested on suspicion of his murder, but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charges citing insufficient evidence.

During the two-day inquest the court also heard evidence from more than 15 people including witnesses at the scene, medics and police officers.

Mr Kelly’s family have fought for five years for an inquest into his death and fundraised �10,000 to pay for a barrister to represent them.