A teenager ‘fist bumped’ his friend as a man he had just punched lay dying outside McDonald’s, a court heard.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, punched Graham Bell to the ground and his friends ‘laughed and joked’ afterwards, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Mr Bell, a married 37-year-old father-of three, was attacked outside the fast food restaurant on the corner of John William Street and Kirkgate.
Opening the case on the first day of a manslaughter trial today (Monday), prosecutor Jonathan Sharpe told the jury: “On Sunday 1st October last year, shortly after midnight in the centre of Huddersfield this young man punched a stranger, knocked him to the ground and so, though he did not mean to, he killed him.
“None of that, I anticipate, will be in dispute. This trial is about why it happened - why a young man attacked a stranger in the street and brought about his death.”
Mr Sharpe said Mr Bell had been out by himself in Huddersfield town centre and had been drinking for two-and-a-half hours in Bar Chaos when he left and had a chat with the teen’s friend Patrick Sienkiewicz.
The defendant, who was meeting up with friends in town to go to a party, was due to meet his friend Patrick, who is also a teenager.
“We can infer [Patrick] said something to [Mr Bell] - something insulting or provocative,” Mr Sharpe said.
The barrsiter said Mr Bell punched Patrick and the defendant, seeing the punch, got involved and punched Mr Bell hard enough to split his lower, cause heavy facial bruising and to knock him to the ground, causing his skull to hit the pavement with a loud crack.
Mr Sharpe said: “[The defendant] and the rest of his group walked straight past him, lying on the ground, and into McDonald’s as if nothing had happened, with certainly some of them laughing and joking.”
The jury were played CCTV footage clips of the punch and of what the prosecution say are the defendant and Patrick ‘fist bumping’ after leaving McDonald’s, ‘a mutual gesture of congratulation - apparently for a job well done’.
Mr Bell, who lived in Dalton and was known to his friends as Jeff, suffered serious head injuries and died three days later at Leeds General Infirmary.
Mr Sharpe said the defendant was arrested and admitted punching Mr Bell in his police interview, but claimed it was self-defence or defence of another.
He added: “Graham Bell had punched one of the defendant’s friends and that’s why the defendant punched him back - hard enough to knock him to the ground and kill him.”
The youth, who denies manslaughter, sat flanked in the dock by his dad.
The trial continues.