A teenager accused of unlawfully killing a dad-of-three said that one punch may have ruined his life.
The 17-year-old, who claims he punched Graham Bell in defence of his friend, said just three seconds could have changed his life.
The incident took place outside McDonald’s in Huddersfield town centre on October 1 last year and Mr Bell, who fell and hit his head on the ground, died in hospital from serious head injuries three days later.
Leeds Crown Court previously heard Mr Bell, 37, had punched the defendant’s then 15-year-old friend Patrick Sienkiewicz first.
Giving evidence in the trial, the teenager said that Patrick had not provoked or chastised Mr Bell.
He said: “Nothing was said. Nothing actually happened for some big grown man to hit a kid.”
The youth, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, also said: “I just thought to protect him really. Because he’s a big man I thought he could hit him again.
”Patrick wobbled backwards so I’m thinking ‘what could happen next?’ In the three seconds I just reacted.”
A witness previously described the defendant’s punch as a ‘Superman’ punch, but in his interview he described it as six to seven on a scale of one to 10.
He added: “Don’t ever say that I put all my force into it and tried to hurt him.”
A transcript of a police interview was read to the court in which he was asked about how he delivered the punch.
He replied: “He’s come up and punched someone so... I’ve punched him.
“I’ll probably mess up my whole life just ‘cos of some punch ‘cos someone wants to be drunk and punch someone. I didn’t mean to do it like that.”
Judge Guy Kearl QC asked the teen: “At that point, immediately before you struck Graham Bell, there were five of you it appears on the pavement facing Mr Bell. And so he went backwards and you and your group went forwards and then you threw the punch. And this all happened in about three seconds.
“At the point when you threw the punch, who did you think was under attack from Mr Bell?”
“All five of you?”
The prosecution allege that the teenager’s actions were retaliation rather than defence of his friend or friends.
Jonathan Sharpe, prosecuting, asked the defendant why he did not call an ambulance or try to help Mr Bell if it was an accident.
He replied: “I didn’t wanna be around a guy on the floor.”
The trial continues.