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Jury out in trial of man accused of manslaughter over Burnham pub punch

Burnham man charged with manslaughter in connection with pub assault

Police outside the George Inn after the incident in August last year

A jury has today retired to decide whether the death of a father after he was punched in a Burnham pub was manslaughter.

Anthony Gardener has admitted hitting Dean Haverley, 48, from Burnham, at the George Inn, in Burnham High Street, but denies a charge of manslaughter.

Instead, the 62-year-old, of Burlington Road, Burnham, claims he acted in self defence after being threatened by Mr Haverley on August 12 last year.

But this explanation was rejected by prosecutor Charles Ward-Jackson, who told Reading Crown Court today (Tuesday): “He [Gardener] was being wound up by Mr Haverley, Mr Haverley was getting on his goat, he was irritating, he was pestering people.

“That night he was perhaps being a bit of a pest, to be frank.

“But he was a pest, not a threat, that is the key distinction.”

Giving evidence yesterday (Monday), Gardener alleged Mr Haverley (pictured left), who had been drinking and had also taken cocaine that day, told him twice he had ‘[seen] some w****r friends of yours earlier and we have got to have it’.

According to the defendant, this scared him so much he punched Mr Haverley, who fell on the floor, suffered a cardiac arrest and later died at Wexham Park Hospital.

Defence counsel Ruth Becker said her client had acted ‘out of instinct and out of fear’.

However, under questioning by police, Gardener failed to mention Mr Haverley’s alleged threat, simply answering no comment on the basis of what he said was the advice of his solicitor.

Mr Ward-Jackson claimed this defence had been ‘concocted’ by Gardener, who was heard to say ‘he deserved it’ as he left the pub afterwards.

Summarising the prosecution’s case for the jury, he added: “You’ve got the bruising in the mouth from the punch and then bruising to the back of the head, which in turn led to cardiac arrest, the breathing stopped, both of which caused rapid death.

“The cause is a punch, he falls over, his heart stops, breathing stops.

“If he wasn’t punched, would Dean Haverley be walking around today?

“The answer clearly is yes.”

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