A YORKSHIRE man accused of killing a workmate with a single punch after they argued about football in a Halesowen town centre pub has told a jury he lashed out in self defence.

Dean Hartley said: "It was just a reaction - I thought he was going to hit me, I wanted to defend myself because I thought he was going to punch me in the face."

The vicious right uppercut thrown by the 30-year-old broke the jaw of Karl Swift and he was unconscious when his skull was badly fractured as he hit the pavement.

The two men had been drinking with colleagues in the William Shenstone pub before before Hartley launched what the prosecution allege was a completely unprovoked attack on the father of two.

And the jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court has been told Hartley claimed he found Mr Swift in a heap on the floor before finally admitting he had punched him in the face.

Hartley maintained in evidence he enjoyed a good relationship with Mr Swift who was a safety engineer with the firm they worked for adding that they had got on well in the public house.

He told the jury Mr Swift had got involved in a confrontation with another of their workmates.

He said: "I definitely had no reason for wanting to hit Karl or anyone else."

When he later saw Mr Swift outside the public house he said he wanted to make sure all was calm after the earlier disturbance that had resulted in most of the men being asked to leave the pub.

He said he feared there might be more trouble between Mr Swift and the other man because he felt he was still angry over the incident.

"I saw him moving his arms and he was shouting at me, he walked straight up to me and he put his head into my face.

"I did not want him to head-butt me on the nose. His head slightly pushed me back. I took a step back as he stepped forward again.

He added: "I thought he was going to hit me. I hit him. It happened really quickly. My punched landed on his left jaw area. It came straight up.

"It was literally a quick snap as I felt I was being pushed. He then fell back and landed on the pavement I was concerned for him because I did not expect him to go down like that.

"It shocked me. I knew it a bad situation because he had that bang on the head."

Phillip Bradley QC has told the court that Hartley claimed he acted in self defence but he has alleged: "The prosecution say that is demonstrably untrue."

Hartley who lives in Yorkshire has denied manslaughter and his trial is continuing.