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Killing accused drank cider before fatal punch, jury told.

A TEENAGE gang member drank strong cider before punching a father-of-three who later died, a court heard.

Sales manager Garry Newlove, 47, suffered massive head injuries in the confrontation with youths and never regained consciousness.

Four teenagers, two aged 17, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old, and AdamSwellings, 19, of Crewe, Cheshire, deny the murder of Mr Newlove at Chester Crown Court.

Swellings, known as Swellhead, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Ashley Roberts, 19, a friend of the defendants, yesterday told the jury how he had seen Swellings consume White Lightening cider in the run-up to the attack on Mr New love on August 10.

Mr Roberts, who gave evidence from behind a curtain, described how two defendants later vandalised a vehicle parked close to Mr Newlove's home in Fearnhead, Warrington, Cheshire.

Mr Roberts said he then heard Mr Newlove threatening to "knock them all out".

In his police statement, Mr Roberts said Mr New love had shouted: "Get in a circle and I'll knock you all out."

Mr Roberts then told the jury: "They scattered around him. Swellhead stood behind the man and hit him. I saw the man pull back towards the group and kick one of the other defendants. Then he fell to the ground."

The prosecution claim Mr New love was then "kicked like a football" in a drink-fuelled gang attack. He was taken to Warrington Hospital where he died two days later.

The trial resumes at 10am today.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 6, 2007
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