‘Gutted’ over man’s death
A DOORMAN accused of unlawfully killing a dad-of-one with a single punch in a car park said he was “gutted” when he found out he had died.
A DOORMAN accused of unlawfully killing a dadof-one with a single punch in a car park said he was “gutted” when he found out he had died.
Jeffrey Shepherd accepts punching 24-year-old Gavin Rees but denies manslaughter on the grounds he was acting in lawful self-defence and he is on trial at Cardiff Crown Court.
The court has heard the incident happened in a car park near Maesteg Community Hospital in Neath Road at around 5pm on August 30 last year.
On Monday, the defendant’s barrister David Elias QC said: “Gavin Rees passed away on September 20 [last year]. Do you remember when you found out he had passed away?”
Shepherd said he did. Mr Elias added: “How did you feel when you heard that was the case?”
The defendant replied: “I was gutted.”
Giving evidence from the witness box, Shepherd said he was in the police station when he found out Mr Rees was “in a bad way”.
Asked how that made him feel, he responded: “Bad.”
The court heard Shepherd gave a prepared statement to police saying he felt threatened as he believed Mr Rees was about to hit him, so hit him first in self-defence.
Mr Elias asked why he then answered “no comment” to the questions put to him by officers.
The defence barrister asked: “Did you feel any need to give any further account about what had happened in the car park?”
Shepherd said he did not, adding: “No, because I had told the truth.”
Asked why he did not answered questions about his mobile phone, he said: “I did not think it was important.”
During cross-examination, prosecutor Michael Jones QC asked why Shep- herd did not go straight to the police to give his account of events.
The defendant replied: “I did not think it was that bad.”
He said his friend told him Mr Rees had been involved in a collision on his motorbike two days before the punch.
Mr Jones asked why he did not go to the police when he found out Mr Rees was in hospital and he replied: “I thought the punch had not done that. It was the bike crash two days before.”
He added: “I thought he would be OK.”
The prosecutor asked: “Is it because you knew what you did to him? You knew you punched him unlawfully and left him on the floor unconscious. That is why you hid from the police?”
Shepherd said he handed himself in once he knew the police were looking for him.
Questioned about his height and weight, the defendant said he was about 5ft 10in tall and weighed about 14st 10lb at the time, agreeing he was “quite a big build”.
Mr Jones asked about his experience of boxing and Shepherd replied: “I do not box.”
He told the court he went to the gym five times a week and accepted he had done some boxing sessions “for the fitness side”. The court heard he had worked as a doorman at venues in Bridgend for 14 years.
Mr Jones said: “You punched him [Mr Rees] gratuitously? On the sly?”
Shepherd said that was not the case.
On Thursday, Mr Rees’ father described the “traumatic” moment he found his son lying unconscious on the ground.
Michael Rees went to the car park after receiving a call from a friend telling him his son had been knocked out.
Mr Rees said his son had worked in the scaffolding industry since he was 16 and they ran a scaffolding business together.
Asked about the scene of the incident, he said: “Everyone was speaking together. It was a very chaotic scene, as you can imagine. It was very traumatic.”
Shepherd, 45, who was reported to reside at Dros Col in Llanharry but has since been confirmed to reside at Pen Llys Deri in Llanharry, denies manslaughter.
The trial continues.
Jeffrey Shepherd, aged 45, denies manslaughter