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'Wee drunken scrap' led to one-punch death of man; Deceased hit head on pavement.

Byline: ASHLEIGH MCDONALD

A MAN accused of killing a 22-year old in a one-punch incident told police he and the deceased had "a wee drunken scrap", a court heard yesterday.

Lawrence Dowie is accused of unlawfully killing Conan Anderson, who passed away two weeks after an altercation in Belfast city centre.

Dowie - whose North Belfast address cannot be disclosed due to a reporting restriction - has admitted punching Mr Anderson in Arthur's Lane, but said he was acting in self defence.

The 28-year-old was initially arrested on February 9, and told a police officer, "He tried to headbutt me. It was a fair dig. I hit him once and he got up and ran away".

Dowie told the same officer: "He was a big fella. He came at me and tried to headbutt me. He threw two punches at me. I hit him once. He went down but got back up."

He was interviewed again following Mr Anderson's death, when he told police that drink had been taken and there had been "slabbering" between him and Mr Anderson.

Dowie said he called Mr Anderson "Gandalf ", that he was "just having a laugh" but Mr Anderson "snapped" and came at him.

Dowie also said Mr Anderson threw "two digs" at him, that he "just stood back and hit him once and he fell", and branded the incident as "a wee drunken scrap".

Outlining the case at Belfast Crown Court, prosecutor Richard Weir QC said Mr Anderson, from the city's Short Strand, died from "severe and substantial" head injuries he sustained from falling backwards and hitting his head after being punched by Dowie.

Mr Weir also told the jury that after socialising in a bar which they left at around 5.30am, the two men argued at Arthur's Lane.

Whilst on the street, the prosecutor said the accused and the deceased "squared up to each other" with the initial contact involving "their heads coming together".

Revealing what followed was "a headbutt by the deceased on Dowie", Mr Weir said the accused took his coat off then Mr Anderson threw punches towards him, which Dowie avoided.

It is the Crown's case that when Mr Anderson dropped his hands, he was punched on the chin by Dowie, which caused him to fall and hit his head.

The jury heard those present called an ambulance, and that Mr Anderson declined help from paramedics.

His mother called an ambulance the next day after becoming increasingly concerned about her son's "erratic behaviour and appearance".

He died on February 18.

The case continues.

irish@mgn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

SCENE Arthur Lane, where Conan Anderson, left, hit his head

STREET ROW Conan Anderson

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 30, 2018
Words:444
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