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London pub owner tried for manslaughter.

An Iranian immigrant who owns a bar in London is now on trial for driving an eccentric American out of his establishment and using an ironing board to push him in front of an ongoing vehicle that killed him.

Rostam Notarki, 53, has pleaded innocent to manslaughter charges but has admitted to a charge of "perverting justice" for hiding tapes from a nearby surveillance camera.

The American visitor, Charles Hickox, was wealthy and a bit eccentric, known for conversing with two toy mice he carried around with him.

Notarki is the owner of The Cardinal Wolsey, a classic old British pub in Twickenham, a district in the west of London.

His trial, held in the Old Bailey courthouse, was told Hickox was asked to leave last September 7 because staff believed he was drunk and rude. He left, but later returned to pick up a Visa card he had left behind.

The court heard he was carrying two tennis racquets, with which he pushed Notarki away.

The court was told an angry Notarki grabbed an ironing board with which he attacked Hickox and chased him into the road in front of the pub.

Notarki, together with his 19-year-old son, Kian, and Mehrad Mohmadi, 45, then tried to cover up the killing by hiding surveillance camera evidence, the prosecution charges.

Prosecutor Michelle Nelson said Hickox "was odd in appearance and manner. He was tall and large with long graying hair and a bushy grey beard and has been described by some as unkempt or scruffy.... He had two ornamental mice, which he would place on the table in front of him..

"In fact, that was not the full picture of Charles Hickox's life. It demonstrates perhaps the error of judging people on their appearance. He had access to quite large sums of money."

At The Cardinal Wolsey, Hickox ordered three bottles of expensive Italian wine before taking out the two mice from his bags.

Waitress Sogol Talebi saw him talking to the mice and thought he was drunk and rude, the court was told.

After Hickox was asked to leave, Notarki and his son switched Hickox's expensive wine for cheap dregs, the prosecution said.

Asked to leave, Hickox then went to the Mute Swan pub before telling three customers there he was going back to the Cardinal Wolsey to retrieve his Visa card, adding that he "might have to crack some ribs to get it."

"He said if he did not return in 20 minutes, they were to give the contents of his plastic bags to charity," prosecutor Nelson said. 'That last remark proved sadly prescient.'

The chef at the Wolsey heard an argument between Hickox and Rostam Notarki. Hickox then pushed Notarki away with a tennis racquet before running off, jurors were told.

A surveillance camera captured Rostam Notarki holding the ironing board aloft while chasing Hickox. As he reached the curb, Notarki hit Hickox with the ironing board on the back, "propelling Hickox forward into the road," Nelson said.

At the same time, motorist Omeed Moghimi, ironically another Iranian, was driving a Mercedes past the pub when he saw Hickox. Nelson said: "Moghimi describes Hickox as looking like he was in a dive towards the road. He was not sure if the van hit the deceased, but he saw Charles Hickox lying face down and motionless in the road."

Other witnesses saw Hickox being chased by several men including one armed with an ironing board and another armed with an iron bar. "The witnesses describe seeing the deceased falling or being pushed into the road and into the path of the oncoming Mercedes van by the man holding the ironing board," Nelson summed up.

"But for his unlawful act of assaulting Charles Hickox with the ironing board, the deceased would not have been propelled in front of the Mercedes van with the terrible consequences that resulted."

Kian is said to have wielded the iron bar while Mehrad Mohmadi, who worked in the pub, was further back in the chasing group, the court heard.

All three men then removed the surveillance camera and hard drive and hid them from police, the prosecutor said.

Rostam Notarki, a father of two who came to the UK in 1982 as an engineer, has owned the pub since 2013.

He denied an ironing board was involved when questioned by police and claimed Hickox shoved him hard in the chest. The ironing board was later found in a cupboard in an upstairs room of the pub.

Witness Patrick Small, who described Hickox as running for his life, said Rostam Notarki was angry and shouting, "You bastard, you hit me," the court was told.

"He describes Charles Hickox as running very well and says he would have got away if he had not had to pause at the edge of the curb because of the traffic," Nelson said.

"Mr. Small saw Rostam Notarki run up without slowing and jab Hickox in the shoulder blade area of the back, using enough force to make Hickox fall into the road. Mr. Small believes the deceased's head made contact with the front passenger wheel of the van."
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Title Annotation:Diaspora: Around the globe
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Date:Jun 26, 2015
Words:858
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