A ROW about football in Halesowen pub led to a 30-year-old man killing a workmate with one punch, a court has heard.
Dean Hartley struck Karl Swift with a vicious right uppercut that broke his jaw and he was unconscious when his skull fractured as his head hit the pavement.
The incident happened on Friday, September 9 after the workmen had been drinking at the William Shenstone pub.
Phillip Bradley QC, prosecuting at Wolverhampton Crown Court, said: "It was a completely unprovoked attack."
He said Hartley had accepted he had thrown the punch adding: "The sole issue is whether he was acting in self defence."
Mr Bradley said the men who all came from the Yorkshire area had been drinking in the pub where they argued about football.
Hartley had first maintained that they had found Mr Swift in a heap on the floor and they felt he must have fallen over near the public house.
He said Hartley repeated in a second interview what he told police officers but he later admitted he had put Mr Swift on the ground.
"He said he had delivered a punch he described as a 'bang' - a right uppercut that rendered him unconscious before he reached the floor."
Mr Bradley went on: "He said he had been acting in self defence but the prosecution say that is demonstrably untrue."
The court was told the workmates had been extremely animated as they argued in the pub and there had been an earlier confrontation between Mr Swift and one of the other men.
Mr Swift had walked out of the premises when it turned physical and the bar manager and his staff had told the rest of the group who were all working in the area to leave or he would call the police.
A short time later a witness saw three of the men including Hartley near a man who was lying unconscious on the pavement and they told her they thought he had fallen over.
Mr Swift was rushed to hospital but surgeons were unable to save his life and he died two days after the incident.
He had a badly fractured skull from hitting the pavement and his jaw had been broken which was, said Mr Bradley, evidence of the assault that took him to the floor.
After admitting he had thrown the punch Bradley told police in interview that Mr Swift seemed to be waiting for him after they left the pub.
He said he had walked towards him in an aggressive manner and he appeared to be agitated. "I thought he was going to hit me so I punched him to the jaw."
He stressed it had never been his intention to cause any harm to Mr Swift adding, "It was an instinctive reaction."
Hartley who lives in Sheffield has denied manslaughter and his trial which is expected to last for seven days is continuing.